Firefighters rescue young foal found helpless down an embankment in Runcorn

Charlie with firefightersCheshire Fire and Rescue Service firefighters went the extra mile to rescue a helpless foal that had fallen down an embankment in Runcorn.

At 12.18pm on 18 June firefighters from Runcorn and Lymm’s animal rescue unit were scrambled to an animal rescue off Eastgate Way, Manor Park, Runcorn.

Workers nearby had spotted the tiny foal at the bottom of an embankment alongside a brook, tangled in nettles and not in a good way. If they hadn’t, the tiny foal may not have survived.

Firefighters met with RSPCA animal rescuer Caren Goodman-Janes and they made their way on foot over a considerable distance and through challenging terrain in very warm weather.

They found the sorry sight of Charlie lying down tangled in nettles and immediately got to work in carefully rescuing her. Assisted by firefighters from the large animal rescue team they encouraged her to her feet and tried to reunite her with what they hoped to be her mother.

Heartbreakingly, Charlie was rejected by a horse believed to be her mother and there were serious concerns for her welfare as the foal appeared weak and unable to fend for herself. There was no one around to care for her and with such hot weather, the rescue team were concerned that there was no shade, water or food for her.

Firefighter Ben Sanderson said: “She was clearly very young and needed our help - she was so young that she was barely able to walk. We weren’t going to leave her there on her own and Caren suggested calling a vet to meet us at the road so she could immediately be assessed, saving vital time.

“So we took it in turns to carry Charlie across the difficult terrain, all the way back to our fire engine where we cared for her as the vet arrived. It was heartening to see that we were bonding with Charlie and that she gained trust in us.

We were getting quite attached to her by then, which made it all the more difficult when the RSPCA and the vet at the scene informed us that it didn’t look good for Charlie and she was going to have to be rushed away for specialist care.”

A few days later Caren made contact with the firefighters to let them know that against all odds Charlie was doing well.

Firefighter Sanderson said: “We were all really worried about Charlie and were so relieved to hear that she was a fighter and had recovered from her tragic start in life. What really was the icing on the cake, was to be told that she will now soon have a loving home where she would be cared for and have a fabulous new life.

“In the fire and rescue service our ultimate goal is to save life, and thanks to the team effort and joint working that day that’s exactly what I feel we did.

“I can’t thank the veterinary team enough, who behind the scenes nursed Charlie back to life and give her a second chance.”

Caren said: “We often work with the fire service in rescues and they are always a great help - in this case they certainly went all out to help poor Charlie who was believed to be just a day old.

“We attended the scene and could see there was a serious welfare concern so we organised for a vet from Brown and Moss to meet us at a nearby road to speed up the process of her being assessed as her life was in danger.

“We then arranged for another rescue charity called World Horse Welfare to assist us and they immediately took Charlie for emergency care which we funded at a cost of £1,000 and this also included specialist milk to feed her on.

“Charlie was then taken into care and I am pleased to say she is doing really well. The vet said had she not been rescued when she was she would almost certainly have died alone by the river."

Rae Andrews World Horse Welfare said: “This was a fantastic team effort with a nice happy ending and soon World Horse Welfare will be looking for Charlie’s forever home.

“We are very glad Charlie was reported to the Fire Service and RSPCA and we were able to transport her to Leahurst Equine Hospital for the urgent care she required being a foal of such a young age. Once the vets were happy for Charlie to travel she was taken to WHW Penny Farm to continue her rehabilitation. She is doing really well and is already a yard favourite. This lovely little filly has a bright future ahead thanks to a brilliant multi agency effort.

“This situation highlights the importance of owners checking their horses daily and closely monitoring any in foal mares.”

Last updated: Monday 06 September 2021

Related images


Charlie with firefighters