A rubber horse is the latest training tool being used by firefighters in south Wales to help in animal rescues.

Lucky the horse stands at 5ft (1.52m) tall, with a 70ins (1.77cm) girth and weighs in at 70 stone (450kg).

He will be used to help South Wales Fire Service’s new large animal rescue team train for dealing with incidents.

Last year the brigade received 129 calls to animal rescues with about a third of them to help large animals who had become trapped.

The rubber horse was imported from the USA and cost £5,000 as part of the brigade’s £50,000 investment into large animal rescue training.

About 132 firefighters are due to receive specialist training.

Jane Denman, a firefighter from Ebbw Vale, will be one of the trainers involved.

She said: “We can put lucky into positions to show the crews the safest way to rescue the animal without them getting hurt.”

A spokesman for the brigade added: “Lucky has articulated limbs, an optional tail attachment, is completely rust proof and accepts standard horse harnesses, glides and other associated rescue equipment.

“He can be used in all weathers, in mud, in water and is designed for training indoors and out.

“His feel and articulation closely simulates a sedated horse, which means that students can learn correct positioning and application of the necessary rescue equipment in scenarios that recreate the challenges of real life incidents.”