RSPCA VIDEO INC Four-hour rescue of pony from sinking bog

RSPCA Exmoor rescue

RSPCA Four-hour rescue of pony from sinking bog

The RSPCA, fire services and Yorkshire Wildlife Trust all worked together to rescue a pony who had become stuck and was sinking fast in a bog in North Yorkshire.



The Exmoor pony was submerged in a ditch in the middle of the bog, with the water up to her shoulders. Two passersby spotted her in distress and contacted Yorkshire Wildlife Trust which owns the Askham Bog Nature Reserve.

Animal Collection Officer (ACO) Leanne Honess-Heather attended the scene yesterday (Monday, July 9) and secured a head collar around the pony to try and lead her out.

She said: “Unfortunately, the mud was so silty it was having a vacuum effect on her legs, she thrashed around a little but she was unable to walk out. She was stuck fast.”


ACO Honess-Heather then contacted fire services and an equine vet for assistance to haul the poor pony out.

The blue watch from Acomb North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue were called, as well as their animal rescue unit from Tadcaster and Malton. They assessed the situation and decided that slings and boards were needed to be able to move her.

Leanne added:

Although the pony was beginning to tire, it was decided that in order to attach the slings safely, it would be in the pony’s and our best interest to sedate her for the rescue. Being in a bog this was no easy task. Vet  Rachel Schneiders and veterinary nurse Nicola Scott from Minster Equine Veterinary Clinic managed to administer the sedative safely from the bank.

From this point it was all hands on deck. The animal rescue teams secured the slings and prepared a board to move her quickly away from the water. As they were unable to get any vehicles down to the area, everyone on scene grabbed hold and heaved her out to safety.

The pony was checked over by the vet and thankfully she was found to have no serious injuries – only some superficial cuts and minor swelling. In no time at all she was back on her feet and moved to a smaller paddock where she could recover. All in all the rescue took four hours and it was a great team effort with organisations working tirelessly together to free this poor pony.”

Equine vet, Rachel Schneiders explained the pony only had minor scrapes and was eating grass again almost immediately. She will check up on her again soon but is confident she won’t be adversely affected.

The nature reserve is home to four grazing Exmoor ponies as part of a breeding programme. They are checked regularly by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, which owns the land and was first on the scene.

Colin Hunter, Acomb station manager at North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, said:

Some passers-by had been going off the beaten track and found the pony stuck in the bog, they called the RSPCA who requested that the fire service attend.

Three crews attended including the specialist animal rescue unit from Malton. A vet also attended to sedate the animal and we used manpower and slings to pull the pony up the bank to safety.

It was trapped in about four feet of brackish water, mud and reeds but other than that appeared to be in good health.

We were there for over an hour and a half but that is pretty good for an animal rescue such as this.”

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