Travellers’ horses, being kept illegally on land in Bushey near Watford, were rescued by dog walkers after they fell into a deep flood waters.
Passers-by, who found one horse already drowned and three others floundering in water from a burst underground pipe, used dog leads to keep the animals afloat, according to a local paper.
The walkers discovered the horses on land belonging to the Woodland Trust in Merry Hill Lane at about 8.40am yesterday (10 January).
The fire brigade, police and the RSPCA were called to the field and the surviving horses were rescued from the water.
Watch commander Dave Elliott, from Watford fire station, told the local paper that a walker had to hold up the head of one of the horses, which was close to slipping under the water, while firefighters made their way to the field.
He said: “They were in a very bad state. If the member of the public had not been there they would have drowned.”
It is believed that the horses had been treading water all night.
A spokesman for the Woodland Trust said horses had been removed from the land before and were illegally grazing the site.
A spokesman for the RSPCA told H&H: “Although this was a traumatic incident, the horses were all in a sound condition. The horses were placed into a different secure field, following the rescue.”