A horse has been rescued by fire crews after becoming stuck “up to her hindquarters” in a muddy ditch.
Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service received a call at 9.22am on 10 October to reports a 10-year-old mare had become trapped in a ditch at Cropredy, near Banbury.
Fire crews attended the scene from Banbury and Abingdon fire stations along with a specialist animal rescue team from Kindlington.
Crew manager Morgan Staveley from Banbury fire station said: “Horses are herd animals so if they get into trouble and get stuck like this, they tend to give up.
“Once they get a sense of freedom, a docile animal will normally attempt to bolt to safety and away from danger and this can prove hazardous to bystanders. This makes close proximity working with such a large and powerful animal extremely dangerous to the rescue teams.
“As the mare was unable to free herself we used the knowledge of the specialist crew from Kidlington to formulate a plan to free her.”
The owner’s daughter and a vet attended the scene.
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“The mare was sunk up to her hindquarters, and the suction effect of the mud made it difficult to release her leg,” said Mr Staveley. “Utilising the specialist medical knowledge of the vet to keep the horse docile throughout the rescue, we were able to place heavy lifting strops around the mare, and then used the 4×4 to gently pull her free.”
Mr Staveley said after the mare rested following her rescue, the crew, vet and owner’s daughter were pleased to see her on her feet and walking.
“Rescues of large animals can call for a technical solution, as in this case. We would rather attend such incidents than have concerned owners or riders risking injury to free an animal themselves. If in doubt, please dial 999,” said Mr Staveley.
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