A horse who got stuck in mud on a U.K. beach was recently rescued in a dynamic and inspiring operation. The incident occurred at Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset, England on April 14, when a multi-agency crew was called out to perform the rescue. The horse had become trapped in deep mud while being ridden in the area by a rider unfamiliar with the local hazards.
Firefighters, alongside crews from Burnham and Weston Coastguard, the local Search and Rescue service, and Burnham Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) were called out at 10 am on April 14 to a part of the town’s beach near a lighthouse, after concerns were reported for two horses and three people who were in trouble in the mud.
One of the riders and their horse were speedily helped to safety but a complex operation was involved in safely rescuing the other horse, who was stuck in mud so deep it came up to the top of his legs. Prompt action was needed, as the tide was coming in, so the animal needed to be freed before the sea reached him.
Coastguards worked alongside firemen and an animal welfare officer to tie canvas strops around the horse. There were also hovercraft crew assisting and two Burnham RNLI lifeboats standing by near the tideline in case they were needed. A vital part of the rescue mission involved the RNLI shore crew and winching tractor, to pull the horse out of the mud, which had to be done carefully, and inch by inch.
The Coastguards have issued a new safety warning to beach users following this incident, advising everyone to stay on firm sand on the beach and not venture near mud, which can be very deep and sticky, and suck people down.
After the intricate two-and-a-half hour operation, the exhausted but uninjured horse was reunited with his emotional and hugely relieved owners, who live in Frome, Somerset. So all’s well that ends well, but it is a warning to other equestrians who like to ride their horses along the seafront.