Page last updated at 15:35 GMT, Saturday, 27 December 2008

Missing horse rescued from well

Katie Clegg and Steffi
Stable girl Katie Clegg searched for three days for the missing horse

A horse which disappeared from a West Yorkshire riding stables was rescued three days later after being found at the bottom of a 10ft well.

Eight-year-old Steffi was pulled out of the hole in the Shibden Valley near Halifax in a three-hour operation involving firemen, the RSPCA and a vet.

Stable girl Katie Clegg, 16, raised the alarm last Saturday when she could not find the horse in its field.

The mare was found on Tuesday by a dog walker, having suffered no injuries.

It is believed that a covering of plants which had hidden the well opening in the field was washed away in recent heavy rains and Steffi fell 10ft into the hole.

Tears of joy

"On Saturday I went down to see her in the field and she was nowhere to be seen," said stable girl Katie Clegg.

"We all trekked around looking for her for on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. No-one knew what had happened to her, whether she'd been stolen or what."

When she heard that Steffi had been found at the bottom of a hole in the field she said could hardly believe it.

"We had all searched that field so many times but nobody saw it. I think it was the dog that somehow found her.

"As soon as I saw her down the hole I just burst out crying, I'd missed her so much."

The horse was sedated before being pulled out in a harness.

It was checked out at a nearby equine clinic but appears to have come to no physical harm.

"They thought she might have broken her leg or pelvis but she was just stiff from being stood down there so long," said Miss Clegg.

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