A pony had a lucky escape after she was found “by total chance” stuck neck-deep in a muddy ditch.
The 11hh grey mare was spotted by a member of the public in a field off Marshfoot Road, Grays in Essex, on 19 January.
The RSPCA and Essex Fire & Rescue Service launched a rescue mission to free the pony, who was covered from head to toe in mud.
RSPCA Inspector Caroline Richardson said it is “amazing” that she was found.
“You could just see her ears, which were the only part of her still grey,” she said.
“It’s total chance that she was found and she was very lucky to have been spotted.
“She was freezing cold, shivering and clearly exhausted. We believe she may have been stuck in the ditch for days and, with the weather having turned so cold and wet, I don’t think she’d have survived much longer. She’s a very lucky little pony!”
After she was winched out of the ditch, the pony was taken to a local vet for a check-up and — importantly — a bath.
The mare, who has been named Puddles by staff at the charity, is not microchipped and the RSCPA is trying to trace her owner.
Article continues below…
You might also be interested in:
The footbridge is roped off, but firefighters believe someone may have forgotten to close the rope, which allowed the horse
Dodger was rescued in 2016 after being discovered in a ditch up to his neck
Lucas was found still feeding from his emaciated mother who was in foal again
“I’d like to say a big thank you to the fire crew who did a great job retrieving her from the mud and, although she was a little stiff and terrified, incredibly she came out unharmed,” Inspector Richardson added.
“She’s now having a well deserved-rest at the vets and will be cared for until we can trace her owners.
“We would love to find Puddles’ owner as she has clearly been on the run for quite some time. However, if no one comes forward to claim her then we’ll find her a loving new home.”
For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday