Dramatic horse rescue in Epworth

Leigh Oakley, of Epworth with her horse, was rescued by firefighters after falling into a ditch. Picture: Andrew Roe
Leigh Oakley, of Epworth with her horse, was rescued by firefighters after falling into a ditch. Picture: Andrew Roe

A rider has described the terrifying moment her horse fell into a ditch and landed on top of her while out in the Isle.

Leigh Oakley feared she might drown after being forced under the water by the weight of her horse Paul.

But despite swallowing lots of water Miss Oakley, who has been riding for nearly 40 years, managed to free herself escaping with just bruises.

Afterwards the 56-year-old faced an agonising wait as firefighters battled for four hours to pull six-year-old Paul to safety.

Speaking to the Bells about the incident, Miss Oakley, of The Turbary, Epworth, said: “We were out riding and there was a large piece of farming equipment on the road behind us so I tried to move to the side but Paul bolted and slipped into the ditch.

“We fell backwards and my head was under the water. I could hear my friend Lindsay screaming from the surface. I felt like I was trapped underneath him.

“It felt like I was under water for ages.”

The incident happened in Wroot Road, Epworth at around 10.30am on Saturday. The road was closed for nearly five hours.

Two farmers came to Miss Oakley’s aid and contacted emergency services as her mobile phone had been damaged by the fall.

She added: “It was awful, Paul was getting so tired from trying to pull himself out. My friend kept telling me not to look because it was so distressing to see him like that.

“I am really grateful to everyone who helped. Two local farmers James Brown and Andrew from Pollybell Farm dropped everything to help us.

“The crews from Humberside Fire and Rescue were marvellous. They never gave up and kept reassuring me that they would get him out.

“My vet who came to sedate Paul as he was getting really distressed and he was marvellous too. He was texting me later that night to check everything was OK.

“Things could’ve been very different. We are both so lucky.”

Miss Oakley a systems manager, added: “I was really shook up by the whole thing I barely slept at all that night.

“I’m a bit worried about how Paul will be when I take him out as it’s shook him up but I’ll just have to see.

“There was quite a comical moment when they eventually pulled him out he started eating the grass no the side of the bank so I knew he was OK.”

A spokesman for Humberside Fire and Rescue confirmed crews attended the incident and used animal rescue strops and water rescue equipment to pull the horse to safety.