Five horses found neck-deep in water after a burst pipe caused a flood were lucky not to have drowned in their stables, the yard owner believes.
Thousands of gallons of water roared into Penhale Farm, Cornwall, overnight on 26 to 27 April, after the rupture, on the outlet of a nearby reservoir.
Yard owner Jean Charman was woken by an employee of South West Water (SWW) banging on her door at 6am.
Jean told H&H: “I was told the yard was flooded but I didn’t realise how badly.
“I went down to the yard and got a hell of a shock – I could see it was horrendous. There were five horses in stables up to their necks in water.
“The last stable belongs to a tiny pony and I couldn’t see its head but it turned out the owner had left it out the night before and I thought thank god for that. We’re lucky the horses didn’t drown.”
SWW spent three hours pumping out the water before the horses could be freed.
“The horses stayed calm but they couldn’t move – they were trapped in the stables because there was so much water. The owners arrived and were very worried about their horses – they couldn’t do anything,” said Jean.
“We checked the CCTV and the flooding started at 12.30am so the horses had been standing in water for 10 hours in total. The vet attended and one has a chest infection and another is lame but they are expected to make a full recovery.”
Jean said two weeks later the stables are still unusable and thousands of pounds of damage has been caused to equipment.
“I have nine liveries and they’ve lost all their saddles, equipment, feed and bedding. The tack room and feed store were underwater – it’s devastating. My son is a builder and all of his equipment, which he kept in a garage, has been lost,” she said.
Firemen had to hold the vet’s legs as he leaned into the hole to sedate the horse
The two colts became trapped after their field was submerged in water when the river Use burst its banks
Take advantage of our sale on Horse & Hound magazine subscriptions today
“SWW spent a week working on the stables, they need to fill in the crater and fix the damage caused to the lane caused by the water running down it. It’s going to take at least a month to repair everything.”
A spokesperson for SWW said: “We were alerted to a burst on the outlet of Trevu service reservoir in Camborne in the early hours of Saturday 27 April, and arrived urgently on scene to quickly isolate and repair the pipe.
“Two properties in low-lying areas were affected by localised and temporary flooding from the burst. Immediately following the burst we undertook an initial clean-up of the stable yard and its drainage. Clearing the ditches and re-stoning the bridle path is being completed this week, as agreed with the affected customers. We apologise for any inconvenience this has caused.”
For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.