A HORSE which crashed through rotten timbers on a bridge has been lifted to safety after a gruelling rescue mission.
Tim Browne, 16, was riding Sam when the grey gelding was spooked by a deer and reared, throwing him to the ground.
By the time Tim was back on his feet, panicked Sam had vanished.
The teenager called his mum, Cara, a former event rider, 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. ‘He was trying to struggle loose, but kept giving up when he ran out of energy.
Pictures show Sam lying on the bridge in Grayswood, Surrey, with one leg dangling above a fast-flowing stream.
Animal rescue-trained fire crews were unable to get their heavy equipment through dense woods. But 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.
The firefighters are based at Painshill and Esher stations which residents fear are at risk of cuts. Surrey Fire and Rescue Service said it is ‘committed to maintaining an animal rescue capability’.