These dramatic pictures show a Shetland pony being rescued from the bottom of a slurry pit – after being trapped in it for FOUR days.
Wayward mare Maple disappeared from her field on Friday morning – leading her owners to fear she had been stolen.
But after days of searching, owner Jay Jenkinson said he heard neighing from the 9ft deep hole in the corner of her enclosure.
And he said he was “over the moon” when firefighters winched an uninjured – but rather dirty – Maple to safety.
At first, Mr Jenkinson, 28, presumed she had simply escaped from the field in Kelynack, Cornwall.
He said: “Ponies like her have a tendency to jump out, but nine times out of ten they just wander home within a day.”
When she hadn’t returned by Saturday they believed her stolen and called the police.
On Tuesday morning, Mr Jenkinson, a bicycle mechanic, was tending another of his three ponies on the family farm when he heard a noise from a barn.
On closer inspection, he found it to be Maple, trapped down the pit, up to her shoulders in water.
Firefighters joined the rescue, and managed to successfully free the pony.
Mr Jenkinson said: “I can’t thank them enough. They did such a great job. We’ve been so emotional, it’s just been crazy.
“She’s doing great, she’s all rugged up and she’s eating.
“The vet was amazed she was okay.
“She’s getting back to her old self and we’re so happy as we thought she was stolen.
“She was missing for four days and we think she had been in there since then.
“We were just so relieved we’d found her and that she was alive but we just wanted her out of there as quickly as possible.
“Initially we weren’t sure we should get the fire brigade out but we called the vet and they said not to hesitate.
“We then had to organise getting a Manitou (telehandler) to lift her out with the fire team’s straps as the field was too muddy for their lifting equipment to enter the field.”
Despite her ordeal, Maple was found to be in good health by a vet, and has now been moved to a barn on the family farm.