THE rider of a horse who fell into a ditch and had to be rescued by the fire brigade said she was terrified she would lose him.

Steph Lynch was riding her horse, Merlyn, in a field near Horsley when they fell down a 10ft hole which was concealed by a hedgerow.

It took three fire crews, a vet and two farmers hours to get a sling around Merlyn and lift him to safety.

Steph said: “I’m so relieved. He’s the love of my life, and I just kept thinking ‘I’m not ready to lose him. He needs to come out’.

“I’m unbelievably grateful to everyone that helped. It could’ve been so much worse.

“He’s on the road to recovery now, but there’s a lot of swelling and he’s quite stiff. It’s a long road.”