Nine horses rescued from swirling floodwaters

Successful rescue. The rescuers prepare to load the last mare and foal among nine horses saved from a flood pasture. Photo: British RSPCA
Successful outcome: Rescuers prepare to load the last mare and foal on to a transporter, among nine horses saved from a flooded pasture in Colnbrook, Berkshire. © British RSPCA

There were nine horses in all, reduced to standing on a small boggy patch as a nearby river which had burst its banks swirled through their pasture.

The small group, including two foals and a Shetland, waited as rescuers in Middlesex, England, formulated a safe rescue plan.

They were among nearly 70 animals rescued by the British RSPCA in just five days as Britain lies sodden after days of rain.

The Middlesex nine were led to safety by the RSPCA’s water rescue team and a field officer from World Horse Welfare.

They were trapped in a waterlogged field in Colnbrook, Berkshire, after a river nearby burst its bank.

The water in their field continued to rise until they were left with only a small boggy patch on which to stand.

Their worried owner worked with staff from both charities to implement the rescue.

World Horse Welfare field officer Nick White said: “The river at the bottom of the field had burst its banks and the water had spread over the field these horses were being kept in – right up to the gateway.

“All of the horses were wet and cold, particularly the thoroughbred-types with thinner coats. We were most concerned for two of the foals which were also very wet and cold – their coats had become waterlogged and the foals were shivering and could not get warm.

“We had to quickly assess the situation prior to catching the horses and work out the safest way to remove them and load them on to a transporter on a very busy, fast and noisy main road.

“With more heavy rain and cold weather forecast we were all immensely relieved to get the horses to safety.

“It was great working with the RSPCA flood team who were professional, safety-conscious and caring towards the horses.”

The six-strong team waded through water to catch some of the horses and then led them to safety. The horses are currently in care while the owner finds them a safer field.

Over a five-day period the RSPCA’s water rescue team has rescued 69 animals.

The largest effort involved 44 cattle, three horses and six dogs saved from a farm in Langport, Somerset.

The charity’s flood response co-ordinator, Jason Finch, said: “We have never rescued so many animals in such a short period due to flooding.”


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