THE owner of an animal sanctuary near Evesham has praised firefighters after they rescued an elderly horse which suffered a nasty fall in its stable.

Thirty-year-old Matilda, known as Mattie, was found on the floor in her stable on Sunday at the Farm Animal Sanctuary, Manor Orchard Farm, in School Lane, Middle Littleton.

Sanctuary owner Janet Taylor spent two hours with a vet trying to get the horse back on its feet but they had to eventually call the fire service to assist them.

A retained crew from Evesham was called at 12.10pm and used straps and sling ropes to try to free the horse, which suffers with arthritis.

Offenham farmer Barry Parkingson was called and used his truck to lift Mattie out of the stable after the crew could not get their lifting equipment into the barn.

“She was found on the floor,” said Ms Taylor.

“She had obviously been down for a long time. I have a new horse which she always pulls faces at.

It’s likely she went over to pull a face at him and she lost her footing. There was a bale of hay there.

“We tried for about two hours to get her back on her feet. It was a last resort to call the fire service.

“They were absolutely brilliant. I don’t think they get enough praise. Because of where she was in the barn, they couldn’t get their equipment close enough.”

Ms Taylor added the mare, which has been at the sanctuary for 10 years and belongs to staff member Louise Rose, was recovering well but is still a bit swollen and bruised.