Exhausted and mud-splattered, Nicole Graham clung to her trapped horse Astro for three hours keeping his head high in a race against the tide.
The 78-stone show horse had sunk into quagmire-like mud and was facing the prospect of drowning as the water rose around them…
Miss Graham stayed at her horse’s side. She courageously clung on to his neck, terrified that he would not be freed before the tide came in.
After three ‘terrifying’ hours, rescuers managed to pull Astro and Miss Graham from the mud.
Miss Graham, who owns more than 10 horses and runs an equine dentistry business, told the Geelong Advertiser how a peaceful afternoon’s ride had turned to terror.
She said: ‘It was terrifying. It was also heartbreaking to see my horse exhausted and struggling…
A local helicopter was put on standby as a last resort at pulling Astro from the mud.
The combined rescue effort paid off. With minutes to spare before the water reached him, Astro – who had been sedated by vet Stacey Sullivan – was dragged from the mud with the aid of the farmer’s tractor.
‘It was a race against the tide and fortunately we won,’ said Lieut Buckle, who praised everyone efforts, including those of Miss Sullivan whose work in sedating Astro made it easier to pull him free.
Miss Sullivan said Astro was dehydrated but had coped well.