These dramatic pictures show a horse and rider both being rescued after becoming stuck in deep MUD while out for a ride on the beach.
Coastguard teams, hover craft and two fire services were called after a the animal and its rider became wedged in mudflats.
Two horse riders were making their way across the beach, on the Bristol Channel, when one horse became trapped in deep mud exposed by the receding tide.
Five separate emergency teams were called to Burnham-on-Sea beach on Sunday (Apr 14) at about 10am.
A Burnham Coastguard spokesman said: “In this instance we were concerned for human life as they were very wet, muddy and although the temperature is pretty average, the wind that blows across is cold and very quick to cool the body down.
“Before you know it you are in danger of hypothermia.
“BARB Search and Rescue were tasked as back up in case of any need for their hovercraft, which was kept on standby as we did not want to spook the horses.”
Mud rescue experts from Burnham Coastguard and Weston-super-Mare Coastguard retrieved the rider first before safety and rescue teams from Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service and Avon Fire and Rescue were also called to help save the animal.
The coastguard spokesman said: “Once on scene the fire service incorporated the RNLI tractor into their rescue plan utilising rescue strops and a winch with other plans devised as back-up due to the incoming tide. We were fortunate that today is a very small neap tide.
“After a long intricate process and with great care taken for the horses welfare, there was finally steady progress made and the very tired horse became free from its sticky confines inch by inch.
“Once it was freed, the poor exhausted horse took a few moments to gather itself, and with a burst of energy got to its feet and was reunited with a very relieved owner and went straight into the waiting horsebox.”
The spokesman added that this was very happy outcome but it “could have been very different”.
They said: “With so many different agencies on scene it was good to see how each other works in these situations, and we all worked together to achieve a very good result for all concerned.
“Our thanks go to all assets and teams who attended, and we are sure the horse is receiving a nice wash down and some extra treats after such a tiring day.
“We do advise if the tide is out to stay on the firm sand, horses are very heavy and can easily break through the softer surface further down towards the water and with an incoming tide this could have ended in a different way.
“Stay safe out there and please continue to enjoy the beach, if you do get into a situation don’t hesitate to dial 999 and ask for the coastguard.”