FIREFIGHTERS saved the life of a 33-year-old shire horse during a dramatic rescue at Chapel Farm Barn in Tockholes yesterday.

Eddie, who is 17 hands tall and weighs nearly a ton, collapsed and fell on his side in the morning.

Unable to get up, the former Greater Manchester Police horse was found by his owner Sharon Crichton lying cast in his stall.

Sharon, who has looked after Eddie since he retired in 2004, called firefighters who attended the scene at 9am.

They worked for nearly three hours under the careful supervision of a vet to return Eddie to his feet.

They were eventually forced to take apart a wooden stall and used a specialist harness and a farmer’s forklift truck to lift the horse.

Sharon, whose family runs the livery and cattery off Chapels Lane, said: “I was crying. Any horse, but especially old horses, if they get cast can damage their muscles and tendons and sometimes the damage can be so severe that they have to be put to sleep.

“He’s lovely, his temperament and manner is very laid back and calm and he’s a wonderful horse. He’s my baby.

“To see him like that was very upsetting. He was exhausted and there were moments when I thought it was his time.

“The fire brigade were excellent. I’d like to say a big thanks to them, Katie Wright, my vet at Aldingtons, farmer Dennis Riding and our neighbour Amanda Barratt, who was with us until the firemen left.”