Rescue workers from Horsham Fire Station and a specialist animal rescue unit based at Storrington Fire Station were called to the pond in a field at Bashurst Hill, Itchingfield at 14:29 yesterday afternoon, after witnesses reported a mare was “lying down in the water” and “drowning”.

Onlookers and the owner of the field held the horse’s head out of the water until rescue workers arrived. Animal rescue equipment was used to pull the horse out of the water, which was afterwards treated by vet Becky Stubbs from Arundel.

“She must have stumbled into the pond,” said Kieran Smith, watch commander of Redwatch Horsham. “I expect she was in the water for about an hour and a quarter in the end. She was not injured but was quite distressed when she came out because she’d been sitting on her hindquarters for so long.”

The vet administered some painkillers and after three quarters of an hour the mare was returned to her stable.