AN ELDERLY horse is back on the mend after becoming trapped following a fall.

Atlas, a 28-year-old Hunter, had become stuck on his side and was unable to lift himself after taking a tumble in his stable on Valentines Day.

Living up to his name Atlas clocks in at a hefty 900kg posing a particular problem for his owners who were unable to right him on their own.

As Atlas grew more and more distressed fire crews from Ramsbottom, Heywood and Ashton-under-Lynne were called in to rescue him, under the expert help of vet Niamh Brown ­— from Simon Constable Equine Vets.

Bury Times:

She said: "“I was called at 6.20am because Atlas was stuck down in his stable and could have possibly been there all night.

“When I arrived the fire and rescue service was already there and had assessed the situation.

"I examined Atlas’s heart rate, respiratory rate and the colour of his gums, to establish how much pain he was in and if his circulatory system was compromised.”

Once at the scene at the stables in Rochdale Ms Brown explained to firefighters that it was urgent that Atlas be rescued as quickly as possible due to the position he had been lying in.

When horses have been lying on one side for a prolonged period of time damage to their muscles can occur as the weight of the animal forces the blood out of the tissue, causing cramp.

In order to free Atlas, fire crews first had to totally remove the front of the stables which was made from concrete walls and had been bolted shut.

Bury Times:

Andy Dunham, a fire service crew manager from Bury, who co-owns Atlas with his wife, said:

“After Niamh was able to confirm that Atlas was strong enough to survive a rescue, we disassembled part of the building and used a JCB with fire service large animal rescue equipment to lift the horse.

"I covered Atlas’s head and kept talking to him to keep him calm and reduce his distress throughout the complicated rescue, before we were able to rest him on his feet outside the stable building."

Once back on solid ground Atlas soon began to take his own weight and has shown no signs of lasting distress.

And in the days following his ordeal Atlas has returned to his field and is back happily munching grass.

Mr Dunham said: "I cannot thank the firefighters enough. Even though I have been in the service for 22 years and seen some fantastic work, being on the receiving end of the great service we deliver was brilliant."

Ms Brown added: “The rescue team were amazing and I was very impressed by the efficiency of the team at moving a 900kg animal.

"I would like to thank the professionalism of the fire and rescue service in such a challenging situation.”