A HORSE had to be rescued by firefighters after being chased into the Leeds Liverpool canal and becoming stuck in the water.

Crews from Nelson and Darwen executed the rescue mission at Barrowford Locks, near Gisburn Road, at around 11.30am today.

The firefighters used special equipment to pull four-year-old Spencer to safety after discovering him stuck in the mud near the canal’s edge.

And Park Hill Farm, where Spencer lives, expressed relief after the young steed came through “unscathed”.

An eye witness told firefighters two horses chased Spencer into the water and he became stuck in the mud between two of the locks.

Crew manager Bob McGregor, of Nelson fire station, said three firefighters were sent into the water to rescue the horse.

They pulled him into the middle of the canal, where the water is around five feet deep, and led him 50 yards towards Higherford, he said.

Once he had been led up a bank and was safe again, he was released back into the field where he came from.

Mr McGregor said: “The horse was quite calm and totally uninjured in the ordeal.

“What had happened was that he had got himself on to the canal bank, but could not get out. He seemed quite happy in the firm ground.”

Spencer is one of a number of horses belonging to the owners of Park Hill Farm, in Gisburn Road.

The farm owns 60 acres of land, including the field where Spencer was grazing which backs on to the canal.

Mrs Hargreaves, who owns the farm, said it was the first time they had ever had a horse become stuck in the waterway.

She added: “I had no idea it had happened. I was sat in the cinema at the time.

“Thankfully he has come out unscathed because luckily the water isn’t too deep.

"We’ve had a few cows get stuck in there over the years but never a horse before.”