No horseplay in the pool
A horse sparked a mammoth rescue effort by firemen after plunging into a swimming pool.
Sam the stallion was having a 'mare after getting into deep water while horsing around chasing a dog.
He was in a field at the back of houses on 'millionaires' row' in Hale Barns, Cheshire, when he broke down a fence and galloped across the lawn of one house in pursuit of the hound.
But after cantering across the lawn Sam's horse sense betrayed him - as he galloped over the green pool cover.
As soon as his hooves hit the cover several hundredweight of horse broke the surface with an almighty splash.
The householders, who have not been identified, peered through their window to look for the intruder in their pool - only to discover it was the horse, of course.
Sam managed to paddle from the deep end to the shallows but try as he might could not get out of the pool - and was left to freeze in the icy water until help arrived.
It sparked a mammoth rescue effort.
It took 10 firefighters, armed with bales of hay, water pumps, a vet and even 'horse whisperers' to get Sam back on dry land.
First the firemen drained the water, then constructed a 'staircase' of bales of hay at one end of the 30ft long pool.
Sam was then lassoed round his rump with a fire hose as 10 firemen took hold of each end. After much heaving, neighing, whinnying and coaxing the horse finally made it to dry land.
He was then checked over by members of the Humane Education Service - experts in helping traumatised animals.
A spokesman for Greater Manchester Fire Service said: 'There was a mad scramble and a bit of concern for the horse but he only suffered a few bumps and bruises.'
Sam's owners are understood to be considering new stables away from the pool.
PetOwnersOnline.com - 14 February 2006