DRAMATIC pictures show the moment a horse was rescued from drowning in thick mud.
Gypsy was stuck in mud up to her chest after heavy rain turned already sodden ground into a bog.
Firefighters were called out to rescue the 300kg (661lb) animal following the incident at Mossburn Community Farm in Lockerbie, Dumfries and Galloway yesterday afternoon.
Two firefighters started sinking into the mud themselves during the difficult, four-hour operation.
Thankfully, Gypsy was hauled from the ground and was “perfectly fine” despite the traumatic experience and her only concern was when she would be “getting her tea”.
One picture shows Gypsy stuck fast in the mud as cold, brown water seeps around her chest and her legs, which are stuck firmly in the ground.
A second picture shows her being hauled free as she lies on her side with darkness falling on the farm.
A final photo shows Gypsy recovered after her trauma with her coat on and hungrily eating her evening meal, which was much later than scheduled.
Posting on their Facebook page, Mossburn Community Farm wrote: “Mossburn would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who helped us last night – our vets, neighbours, and especially the men and women of Dumfries and Galloway Fire Service – for their rescue of our pony Gypsy who was stuck up to her chest in mud on Wednesday night.
“Conditions in the part of the field Gypsy had got stuck in were horrendous and the fire teams were seriously struggling at times, at least two of them having sunk. Gypsy is perfectly fine this morning and was only concerned with getting her tea when she was finally out, which by that point was very late!”
Colin Wallace oversaw the Fire Service’s rescue operation and said: “This was a challenging incident. We had a large animal weighing a considerable amount trapped within mud.
“It was clear the horse was cold and tired but it was placid and well behaved which assisted in this successful extraction.
“We worked in close partnership with the vet and indeed were assisted by a local farmer to bring this to a safe conclusion.”
He continued: “The crews did an outstanding job by drawing on their large animal rescue training.
“These are highly technical operations that involve specialist rescue equipment, designed to ensure the safety of the animal, the public and our firefighters.”
“We assist at these incidents because large animals are important to the economy. We also want to avoid members of the public being placed at risk by trying to effect their own rescue.
“It was a very pleasing moment when the horse was extracted and transferred to the care of her owner and the vet.”
A spokeswoman for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said: “The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service was alerted at 4.37pm on Wednesday, 1 February to reports of a horse trapped within mud at Mossburn Community Farm, Lockerbie.
“An appliance from Lockerbie and a second from Dumfries along with a Heavy Rescue Vehicle from Dumfries were immediately mobilised.
“Firefighters consulted with a vet at the scene before moving to extract the heavy animal.
“The crews used an ice path – or sturdy inflatable walkway – to create a stable working platform as well as a metal winching device – or Tirfor – which is used to pull heavy objects in challenging conditions.
“Firefighters then used durable canvas strops to secure the horse, allowing it to be pulled 10 metres by the tractor to a place of safety.
“The animal was then transferred to the care of the vet and its waiting owner.
“The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service ensured the area was safe before leaving the scene at 8.06pm.”
Last year, a horse named ‘Flashdance’ became trapped at Flattmoss Farm, near East Kilbride.
Initial thoughts during the incident, which took place last February, were that the animal may have to be put down.
However, she was freed when a local farmer used their JCB digger to remove the mud which allowed the fire crews to pull her out.