Horse rescued from rotten bridleway bridge

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A horse which became trapped when rotten timbers on a bridleway bridge snapped has been lifted to safety after a gruelling rescue mission.

Tim Browne, 16, was riding his grey gelding Sam in Grayswood, Surrey, when the horse was spooked by a deer and reared.

Tim was thrown to the ground and Sam took off. By the time Tim was back on his feet, Sam had vanished. The teenager called his mum, Cara, who arrived with two friends and set out in search of Sam.

“As we were shouting his name, we heard him neigh and found him trapped on the wooden bridge,” said Cara, 45.

Sam was lying on the bridge, one leg dangling above the stream where it had broken through the rotten wood.

“He was trying to struggle loose, but kept giving up when he ran out of energy,” added Cara.

Animal rescue-trained fire crews, based at Painshill and Esher, were unable to get their heavy equipment through the dense woods, so were forced to lift Sam out manually with the aid of straps.

After two hours of lifting, they managed to haul Sam to safety. He suffered minor grazes and is recovering at his stable in Haslemere.

“The bridge is on a bridleway but was rotten. If Tim was riding Sam, it could’ve been a very different situation,” said Cara.

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