Mare reunited with foal after river rescue

Faisal Atcha, from the large animal rescue unit at Gloucester North, with the horse.  Photo: Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue Service
Faisal Atcha, from the large animal rescue unit at Gloucester North, with the horse. © Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue Service

A mare was reunited with her foal after being rescued from a brook in Gloucester, England.

Firefighters from the Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue Service answered the call shortly after midday on Monday to a property off Bredon Rd, in Tewkesbury.

The large animal rescue team from Gloucester North Fire Station were able to free the mare uninjured using a specialist horse collar.

She had become stuck in the brook, separating her from her foal in the field.

“When we arrived, the mare was upright and calm in the brook,” crew commander and animal rescue specialist Michael Keel said.

“We sent two firefighters in dry suits into the water, with one holding the horse and the other on standby for support if needed.

“Thankfully, we were able to get the specialist horse collar over her head, remove a small fenced area and lead her calmly to safely. I then checked her over and she was absolutely fine.

Atcha leads the horse to safety. Photo: Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue
Atcha leads the horse to safety. © Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue Service

“Her owner was extremely grateful for the successful rescue.”

Keel said the specialist training firefighters received for such rescues was important.

The swift-water rescue team from Tewkesbury also attended the incident and were on standby in case more crew were needed.

The large animal rescue team was introduced last year when Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue Service invested in large animal rescue equipment and instructors to ensure that firefighters had the best skills available to protect themselves when handling large animals.

With Gloucestershire being such a rural county, the Service is frequently called out to rescue large animals – the most common being horses, cattle, pigs and sheep who often find themselves trapped in machinery, bogs, rivers, pools, brooks and ditches, or victims of road traffic collisions.

Councillor Will Windsor-Clive, cabinet member for fire, planning and infrastructure, said the latest rescue demonstrated the importance of that investment in specialist equipment and training.

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