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Horses Rescued From Mud In Separate UK Incidents Prompt Warning Over Coastal Rides

17th April 2019
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Hoylake RNLI volunteers and other emergency services worked together to free the trapped horse on the Wirral coast Hoylake RNLI volunteers and other emergency services worked together to free the trapped horse on the Wirral coast Photo: RNLI/Chris Green

Horse riders and owners have been warned over taking their animals to beaches or mudflats after two separate rescue incidents in the UK in recent days

Last Saturday (13 April) two horses and their riders were rescued from thick mud after they became stuck while riding on the Wirral coast near Liverpool.

Hoylake RNLI’s hovercraft joined Flint and Wirral Coastguard Rescue among the emergency services at the scene on Saturday morning, which saw one of the horses stuck up to its belly in very thick mud.

Emergency services tried digging around the horse to free its legs to no avail. The RNLI crew and coastguard also used their mud lances in an attempt to soften the sand with water and compressed air, but the mud proved too thick for this equipment.

After some further digging, and with gentle encouragement from the emergency services, the horse managed to free itself but became stuck again.

Finally, mud boards and mats were deployed to provide the horse with some firmer footing.

The horse was freed again and managed to climb onto the boards with some assistance. A vet on the scene then administered a sedative to avoid any further distress to the animal and to help the emergency services to move it to shore safely.

“Considering the ordeal the horse had been through, its behaviour was exceptional in what was clearly a distressing situation,” said Hoylake RNLI crew member Ian Farrall. “The emergency service teams worked really well together, pooling their resources and experience to ensure a good outcome in very difficult circumstances.”

The following day, HM Coastguard received 999 calls reporting a horse and rider in distress and stuck in the mud at Burnham-on-Sea beach in Somerset.

Fortunately the rider was not injured but the coastguard launched a multi-agency response to recover the horse and keep the rider safe before the rising tide covered the area.

Gemma Griffiths, the senior maritime operations officer who was co-ordinating the incident in Somerset, offered safety advice for walkers and riders as the longer days come in.

“Take care when walking or riding over these big expanses of tidal sand or mud and consider getting guidance from someone with local knowledge if you are at all unsure about your route.”

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Coastal Notes Coastal Notes covers a broad spectrum of stories, events and developments in which some can be quirky and local in nature, while other stories are of national importance and are on-going, but whatever they are about, they need to be told.

Stories can be diverse and they can be influential, albeit some are more subtle than others in nature, while other events can be immediately felt. No more so felt, is firstly to those living along the coastal rim and rural isolated communities. Here the impact poses is increased to those directly linked with the sea, where daily lives are made from earning an income ashore and within coastal waters.

The topics in Coastal Notes can also be about the rare finding of sea-life creatures, a historic shipwreck lost to the passage of time and which has yet many a secret to tell. A trawler's net caught hauling more than fish but cannon balls dating to the Napoleonic era.

Also focusing the attention of Coastal Notes, are the maritime museums which are of national importance to maintaining access and knowledge of historical exhibits for future generations.

Equally to keep an eye on the present day, with activities of existing and planned projects in the pipeline from the wind and wave renewables sector and those of the energy exploration industry.

In addition Coastal Notes has many more angles to cover, be it the weekend boat leisure user taking a sedate cruise off a long straight beach on the coast beach and making a friend with a feathered companion along the way.

In complete contrast is to those who harvest the sea, using small boats based in harbours where infrastructure and safety poses an issue, before they set off to ply their trade at the foot of our highest sea cliffs along the rugged wild western seaboard.

It's all there, as Coastal Notes tells the stories that are arguably as varied to the environment from which they came from and indeed which shape people's interaction with the surrounding environment that is the natural world and our relationship with the sea.

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