What a Tight Squeeze: firefighters rescue ‘courageous old lady’ from deep muddy ditch

  • An ex-racehorse aptly named Tight Squeeze has had a lucky escape from a “swamp-like” ditch.

    The 20-year-old mare, who was formerly trained by Peter Hiatt, fell into the ditch on the morning of New Year’s Eve (31 December).

    Once Tight Squeeze’s predicament was discovered, firefighters were called to her field near to the Wiggington Road in South Newington.

    A crew of 15 from Banbury and Hook Norton fire stations and the specialist animal rescue team from Kidlington arrived at 10.20am.

    Tight Squeeze, who won 14 of her 87 races, had been trapped for a number of hours.

    “On arrival crews found the aptly named Tight Squeeze was stranded in a deep-banked, extremely muddy, swamp-like ditch, suffering from extreme fatigue and cold,” said a spokesman from Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service.

    Working with a vet, the rescue team used slings and harnesses to secure Tight Squeeze and prevent her from slipping further into the ditch.

    “After a number of attempts to persuade her out under her own steam failed, it was evident that the rescue was becoming more complex as she was sinking further into the mud and also into a state of unconsciousness,” said the spokesman.

    “After a discussion with the vet it was decided that one last attempt to drag her from the ditch should be made before sedating her and using a tractor to lift her clear.

    “The crews got to work with shovels and spades to create a sloped side to the ditch and safe landing stage to drag her on to.

    “During this time the extremely fatigued horse seemed to recognise the attempts being made and roused herself; and with all the firefighters on the rescue slings pulling her away from the ditch, and one monumental effort from Tight Squeeze, she was dragged to safety.”

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    The mare was able to stand after around five minutes and is recovering well.

    Station manager Brian Butler who attended the incident added: “Tight Squeeze is an extremely courageous old lady.

    “The crews worked extremely hard and professionally to conclude what was a complex and dramatic rescue”.

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