A horse had to be sedated and winched to safety after she became trapped in a ditch when her rider fell off out hacking last month month (Saturday 14 February).
The mare, Genie, slipped and fell on the way back from a hack in West Felton, near Oswestry, Shropshire. Her rider was not hurt in the fall, but Genie’s hind legs became stuck in a ditch and she was not able to stand.
Firefighters from the Baschurch unit of Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service and Shropshire Fire Service Animal Rescue Specialists were called and arrived at 1.30pm.
“Luckily the rider was not hurt in the fall,” said watch manager Craig Jackson.
“Genie was lying there and would raise her head now and again — she was exhausted. She had been stuck in the ditch for more than half an hour.”
Genie was sedated and straps were carefully passed under her body. Her face was covered before she was winched from the ditch to avoid further distress and for protection.
She was then laid on boards and encouraged to stand, which she managed after a couple of minutes.
Genie was not injured in the incident.
“It was a big relief for her owner. She had been riding another horse behind Genie when the accident happened,” added Mr Jackson.
“She rescued Genie from Germany and was very fond of her.”
The Shropshire Fire Service Animal Rescue Specialists have rescued four horses in the past three months.
Cuts to fire services
Fire and rescue crews are essential in attending equine-based emergencies, but with budget cuts looming, some large animal rescue teams are under threat.
In April, the North Wales Fire and Rescue team will lose its large animal rescue unit, forced by squeezes to the budget.
Steven Foye of the Chief Fire Officers Association told H&H: “Unfortunately fire services across the country are having to make cuts in line with a reduction in funding.
“Service planning is structured on the basis of risk, and each service will make financial judgements in line with those plans.”