Awards for horse rescuers

RSPCA certificates of merit are to be presented today to members of the fire service, coastguards, a vet for their help in rescuing a horse.The 18-year-old chestnut mare was being ridden at low tide along the estuary of the River Stour at Holbrook Creek in July this year when she began to sink into the mud.

RSPCA certificates of merit are to be presented today to firefighters, coastguards and a vet for their help in rescuing a horse.

The 18-year-old chestnut mare, Rosie, was being ridden at low tide along the estuary of the River Stour at Holbrook Creek in July this year when she began to sink into the mud.

Wet mudflats dominate the area and large five-foot deep gullies left by floods at high tide submerged islands of land under two feet of water.

The rider, stable girl Becky Fox, called for help on her mobile phone but Rosie became weaker as she struggled to escape and was soon up to her belly in mud.


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By the time help arrived, the horse, which is stabled near Holbrook, was lying in water and the tide was on its way in. The rescue team managed to drag the mare to a slightly drier area but was hampered by the numerous gullies. Rosie was exhausted and unable to stand, so lifejackets were used to support her head and prevent her from drowning.

After being sedated by vet, Richard Pettit, of Highcliff Veterinary Practice in Hadleigh, the horse was finally freed, rolled onto two inflatable pontoons, then dragged across the mud flats and floated across the gullies to safety.

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Mr. Pettit provided immediate treatment and after two hours the animal was able to stand and be led back to her stable. The rescue took over six hours.

The RSPCA Certificates of Merit were to be presented by the Society's regional manager John Atter during a special lunch at the Royal Hospital School, Holbrook today.

They were being awarded to RSPCA chief inspector Mark Thompson, RSPCA Inspector Jason Finch, the officers of green watch at Ipswich Fire Station, the officers of green watch at Bury St Edmunds fire station, the retained crew at Holbrook Fire Station, Walton on the Naze coastguards, Holbrook coastguards and the officers of blue watch at Colchester Fire Station.

Mr Atter said: "This was clearly a difficult rescue."

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