Goldie’s beach jaunt proves a headache for rescuers

Goldie's beach dilemma. Photo: Mid & West Fire Service
Goldie’s beach dilemma. Photo: Mid & West Fire Service

Goldie the gelding’s beach jaunt in Wales was no holiday. The two-year-old Welsh mountain pony ended up at the centre of a three-day rescue effort, after slipping 20 metres down a steep slope to end up trapped in an isolated cove.

The scale of the problem.  Photo: Mid & West Fire Service
The scale of the problem. Photo: Mid & West Fire Service

His successful rescue from the cove at Marros, near Pendine, in Carmarthenshire, was a joint effort between the the RSPCA, coastguard and fire service.

His rescuers affectionately nicknamed him Cliff.

The RSPCA was called by the coastguard on Sunday evening but it was too dark – and abundantly clear there would be no easy way of getting the pony off the beach that night.

As Goldie was unhurt and in good health, and the coastguard advised that the tide could not reach him, Goldie was left overnight with fresh water and hay.

The next day, a team from the RSPCA and coastguard returned with a vet. It was agreed the safest way of getting him off the beach was by airlifting him by helicopter.

Preparing for the lift. Photo: Mid & West Fire Service
Preparing for the lift. Photo: Mid & West Fire Service

Unfortunately, the Royal Air Force did not have one available and a second option of swimming the pony into the sea and attaching him to a lifeboat was also ruled out due to the rough seas and high wind.

With options dwindling, it was reluctantly decided to leave Goldie for another night and try again the next day.

The following day, the coastguard and the Mid and West Wales Fire Service decided the only viable option was sedating Goldie and hoisting him up the slope using its  heavy-lifting equipment.

Goldie was checked over again and found to be in good health. He was placed in a safety harness and, once sedated by the vet, was quickly wrapped in a heavy-duty tarpaulin which acted like a protective bag around him while he was slowly hoisted to the top of the slope.

A sedated Goldie on the move. Photo: RSPCA
A sedated Goldie on the move. Photo: RSPCA

Once at the top, he was gently brought round and within 20 minutes was walking around.

“The forces of good came together on day two of this rescue,” RSPCA inspector Richard Abbott said.

“A large coastguard team and Mid & West Fire Service turned out to help this little Welsh mountain pony, who we have affectionately nicknamed Cliff.”

“It was a very difficult walk to get to Goldie with heavy kit, but team work, good weather and a very well behaved pony meant Goldie was rescued with absolutely no injuries at all.”

Mid and West Wales fire and rescue service Station Manager, Simon Pearson said: “We had a good mile and a half walk to the rescue location with various items of equipment which created a physically demanding start to the operation.

“However, we worked well with our partners in what was a very challenging and technically demanding rescue.

“The fire crews from Whitland did an outstanding job and I’d like to extend my thanks to them and all our partners for their work in bringing the horse to safety.”

A job well done. Photo: RSPCA
A job well done. Photo: RSPCA

Goldie has now been returned to his owner, who the SPCA said was thrilled to have him back safe and sound.

Reporting: Karen Hier, RSPCA

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