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‘Thanks to the heroes who rescued our amazing horse’

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue animal rescue team

Firefighters are able to hone their skills to free trapped horses after a grateful owner donated a trailer.

Last year crews were called out to a farm in Burton which specialises in the breeding and development of thoroughbred racehorses after one of the prized horses had become stuck in a ditch.

Firefighters from Cannock and Burton attended the scene in August and managed to help Solo out of the predicament and reunite him with grateful owners Stuart and Sarah Matheson.

Releasing a horse from a horsebox can be a difficult challenge to face. If the vehicle has been involved in a road traffic collision you will have a horse which may be trapped in the bars inside the trailer, and it will be panicking.

Station Manager Dez Stoddart

And Stuart and Sarah, who own Abacus Bloodstock, were so impressed by their efforts they decided to source a horse box to enable firefighters to continue practising their techniques when it comes to rescuing horses.

The horsebox, which will be used at Cannock Community Fire Station, will allow crews to run realistic practice sessions on the best ways to free a horse from the specialist trailer.

And the horsebox also has an occupant – a 6ft tall hard plastic replica horse complete with moving joints.

Dez Stoddart, station manager at Brewood and Cannock Community Fire Stations, said: “Releasing a horse from a horsebox can be a difficult challenge to face. If the vehicle has been involved in a road traffic collision you will have a horse which may be trapped in the bars inside the trailer, and it will be panicking.

“The other scenario is if the horsebox is on its side and then you have to deal with getting the horses out in a different way.

“This horsebox donation will mean we can run practice drills which will be so helpful to the team. We are very grateful for Stuart.”

Stuart said: “We’d had Solo for 25 years and we always said there was something magical about him which drew people to him.

“When he became trapped in the ditch it was a really traumatic experience. But the firefighters who came to use were so professional and just put us completely at ease.

“The watch manager must be very proud and privileged to lead what I regard as a group of heroes.”

Sadly, Solo passed away this year. Stuart added: “He’d made a full recovery from the incident and the actions of the firefighters gave us those precious extra months with him.”

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