Tight Squeeze for horse rescued from muddy ditch

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A retired racehorse certainly lived up to its name on New Year’s Eve after it got stuck in a ditch.

The horse - named Tight Squeeze - had to be pulled from a ditch in South Newington by firecrews using specialist equipment after it had slipped into the muddy ditch and been stranded for several hours.

Crews from Banbury and Hook Norton fire stations and the specialist animal rescue team from Kidlington were called at around 10.20am on Saturday, January 31 and found the horse stranded in a deeply banked, extremely muddy ‘swamp-like’ ditch, suffering from extreme fatigue and cold.

Working closely with a vet, the rescue teams used slings and harnesses to secure the retired 18-year-old racehorse, and prevent her from slipping further into the ditch.

After a number of attempts to persuade the horse out under her own steam failed, it was clear that the rescue was becoming more complex as Tight Squeeze was sinking further into the mud and also into a state of unconsciousness. After a discussion with the vet it was decided that one last attempt to drag her from the ditch should be made before sedating her and using a tractor to lift her clear.

To make this easier, the crews got to work with shovels and spades to create a sloped side to the ditch and safe landing stage to drag her on to.

During this time the extremely tired racehorse seemed to recognise the attempts being made and roused herself and with all the firefighters on the rescue slings pulling her away from the ditch, and one monumental effort from the horse herself, she was dragged to safety.

After about five minutes the motionless racehorse, slowly raised herself and stumbled onto her feet.

Station manager Brian Butler, who attended the incident, said: “Tight Squeeze is an extremely courageous old lady who will be celebrating 2017 like the rest of us.

“The crews worked extremely hard and professionally to conclude what was a complex and dramatic rescue.”