SARACEN has proved himself to be a strong stallion after surviving being immersed in deep water at a Wigan farm.
The 24-year-old got stuck in a muddy pond in Heron Farm, off Bolton House Road, Bickershaw, and as farmers came to his aid, he managed to release himself - but not before there was a sense of panic and drama.
Firefighters from Atherton were called, but by the time they arrived, Saracen was already out of harm.
His owner, Angie Duffy, 40, has spoke of her relief and how grateful she is to farm owner Martin Wilcocks and fellow horse owner Mark Skett, who pulled him to safety.
She said: “I got a phone call to say that Saracen was stuck in the pond, with only his head above the water, and that I should get here quickly.
“I was really scared and didn’t know what I would see.
“By the time I got there he had been pulled out and there was about 35 people there - it was a blur of activity.
“Martin and Mark had managed to get a strap around Saracen’s bum and one had hold of his head and they managed to pull him free. Then Saracen was able to push himself out of the pond.
“I am overwhelmed at how many people came to help pull him out. Mark and Martin were up to their necks in mud - they really got stuck in to help.
“Poor Saracen was shattered and trembling with cold and covered in mud when he came out.
“I had no idea how deep that pond was. He is a 16-hand horse, so he is big, so for only his head to be above the water, it had to be deep,
“It was in a hollow so I am surprised and grateful that Mark saw it, especially as Saracen didn’t appear to be in distress or neighing. We don’t think he was in the mud long as he still had enough strength to pull himself out.
“We didn’t think the pond was that dangerous as a lot of ponies play in it, but we must have had a lot of rain.”
After being checked by the vet, Saracen was declared fit and is recovering well.
The mother-of-two, who lives in Westleigh, said: “He is a pensioner so I thought he was a gonner. I have had him 10 years and he is part of the family. I love him to bits. When he got out I gave him a big cuddle. He is a brave soldier.”
David Holden, watch manager at Atherton Fire Service, who was called out to the incident last week, said: “It appears the horse went for a drink and got stuck in mud and he was sinking further. He was up to his neck in mud.
“But as soon as he saw us he was able to get his front hooves over the lip of the pond and he managed to drag himself out.”