A PREGNANT horse was at the centre of a painstaking two-hour rescue operation by firefighters.
The two-year-old mare fell into a 10ft deep ditch that was full of water.
Trapped and suffering from hypothermia, the horse struggled for hours before it was spotted and the emergency services were called.
Teams from Chichester and Havant fire stations went to the field off Lockgate Road, Sidlesham, near Chichester, at 11.30am on Thursday.
The horse was winched to safety using a crane.
Buster Brown, an animal rescue specialist based at Havant, said: ‘The animal was in a clay hole in the ground.
‘We waited for a vet to sedate the horse.
‘Once it was suitably sedated, we placed rescue slings under the belly of the animal and then using a crane lifted it out of the hole and placed it safely in the field.’
By 2pm the horse was back on its feet in its field.
He added: ‘The horse was fine. It had been in the water and was suffering from shock and a little bit of hypothermia, but the vet was happy.
‘The actual lifting out of the horse only took about 10 minutes, but the whole thing took two hours with getting all the equipment there.’
But it was not such a happy ending for another horse.
In an unrelated incident, a few minutes after the rescue, firefighters were called to rescue a horse in the sea at West Wittering.
A crew from Chichester arrived at the beach at about 2.45pm.
The horse had collapsed in the sea while the owner was riding it in shallow water.
The horse was declared dead at the scene by a vet.
Firefighters and the horse’s owner removed the dead horse from the sea.