A foal, only a few hours old, was pulled from a muddy pit along with its exhausted mother this morning.
Fire crews from Thames-side, the animal rescue unit, the RNLI, the Medway Coastguard team and the RSPCA were all called to the River Thames, just off Norfolk Road where the pair were stuck knee-deep.
If they had arrived only minutes later the mare and new-born would have drowned as the tide came in.
Fire station manager Daren Jenner said: “When we arrived the mare was very calm. She has obviously been struggling and was exhausted. Our priority was to get her out as quickly and safely as possible.”
She had given birth to the foal on the bank leading to the river just hours before and it is believed she went to the waters edge for a drink with the foal when they got stuck.
A vet from Bell Equine in Mereworth joined the rescue operation and sedated the mare. The crews then pulled her and the foal, caked in mud, to safety.
Apart from some scratches there was no lasting damage to the three-year-old mare and foal, although the little one was given a dose of antibiotics as a precaution.
Horses are kept nearby along Mark Lane and it is believed the mare escaped through poorly constructed fencing to give birth away from the herd.
The pair were monitored by the RSPCA and the vet, Miss Mette Christenson, for a couple of hours before being released.
The RSPCA are aware of who owns the horses and will be getting in touch to make sure they’re being monitored.
No action is being taken against the owner and nothing is being put in place to prevent a similar incident.