A young mother who bravely remained with her horse for three hours as the tide crept in on the creature which got trapped in quicksand-like mud, has spoken of her relief following a daring rescue by the emergency services.
Nicole Graham refused to let go of 78-stone Astro as she struggled to keep his head high, despite being exhausted and the danger of drowning in the sea in southern Australia.
The huge show horse sunk into the mud during a family ride in the afternoon along the coast near Geelong, south of Melbourne. And before Graham could warn her daughter Paris to avoid the boggy trap, her horse was also partially swallowed up by the sludge. Having dragged herself through the mud to help her daughter and the smaller animal on to firmer ground, Graham returned to assist Astro.But Astro was stuck fast, and Graham’s efforts to free him only pulled her deeper into the mud.
Paris raised the alarm – but it took rescuers three long hours to release the 18-year-old horse from the muck.
Graham said she couldn’t leave her beloved horse by himself. She said: “It was terrifying. It was also heartbreaking to see my horse exhausted and struggling. We went straight down and under. There was mud everywhere and every time I moved it sucked me back down. It wouldn’t let us go.”
Luckily, Astro – sedated by a vet to ease his distress – was pulled free with only minutes to spare before the tide came in.