Horse ‘lucky to be alive’ after being rescued from deep water-filled ditch

A horse “is lucky to be alive” after escaping from his field and falling into a deep water-filled ditch almost two miles away.

Oliver, a six-year-old 15.1hh thoroughbred/warmblood, was found in a rhyne at Stawell, Somerset on 13 September by a member of the public, who alerted the RSPCA. The RSPCA contacted the Devon and Somerset Fire & Rescue Service and approached Carol Easter, who lived close by, to ask for her help, not knowing at that stage she was the horse’s owner.

RSPCA inspector Jo Daniel, who attended with inspector Hayley Lawrence, said: “Poor Oliver was in a very dangerous situation. He was stuck a drainage ditch, almost up to his neck in the water, which would have been so stressful for him. He must have been stuck in mud under the surface too, as he was unable to move at all without our help.

“Oliver was sedated by a vet and a fire officer climbed down into the water to secure a harness onto him, and then, using a special lifting mechanism on the fire engine, we managed to carefully lift Oliver out of the water.

Oliver escaped “without serious injury” and was treated by the vet for cuts and scrapes.

“We couldn’t have rescued Oliver without the specialist help of the fire service, so we’d like to say an enormous thank you to the crew for their help in saving Oliver’s life,” said Jo.

Oliver’s owner Carol said: “It was quite a surprise when, having received a phone call from inspector Daniel asking for help, I arrived to see it was my horse we were rescuing.

“I just can’t understand how he got there as it is so unusual for a horse to leave his friends. He lives out in a herd of youngsters and he was the only one who had got out. I can only think he had jumped the fence and couldn’t see his way home so went wandering the other side of the wood that runs the length of our land.”



Paul Mitchell of Devon and Somerset Fire & Rescue Service told H&H: “This was a collaborative effort with the RSPCA and the owner to ensure that our crews were able to rescue the horse while maintaining the safety of onlookers.

“Although this may have looked like a relatively stable situation, we would remind people to call the fire service or RSPCA in these situations as getting in with the animal may risk an injury to them or the animal.

For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.