A HORSE was rescued by firefighters after unseating her rider and plunging into the freezing waters of a canal.
Firefighters from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service were called to the Leeds Liverpool Canal near to Pennington Flash, Leigh on Sunday afternoon.
When firefighters arrived, members of the public were attempting to reach the horse – six-year-old mare Honey – who was stranded in the water.
Her female rider was lying injured on the canal bank about 300m from the horse.
Station Manager Ben Levy said: “The horse was quite distressed when crews arrived so we worked alongside a vet who sedated the horse.
“A local farmer turned up so we used his tractor to lift the horse and get slings underneath the animal.
“The slings were tied to the fork lift of the tractor and crew from Eccles’ Water Incident Unit – who are specially trained in large animal rescue – safely lifted the horse from the water.
“The rider was treated by colleagues from North West Ambulance Service and firefighters and was carried approximately 300m to the ambulance before being taken to hospital.
“Luckily nobody else was injured but there were people trying to go in and get hold of the horse before we arrived so there could have been further injuries.
“I’d urge the public to never attempt to rescue an animal or person trapped in open water because you could get into difficulties yourself.”
The woman was taken to hospital with suspected chest injuries and the horse was treated by a vet.
It is not known what caused the rider to be unseated or the horse to fall in the water.
Both are expected to make a full recovery.