A DECISION has been taken this afternoon not to attempt to rescue horses cut off by flood water in Christchurch.

Dorset Fire and Rescue Service station manager Dave Graham said: “Concern has been raised for the welfare of 18 horses that are currently isolated by flood waters on Stony Lane, Christchurch.

“The owner of the horses, along with DFRS, the RSPCA and the EA have made a joint assessment of the horses’ welfare and surrounding flood waters.

“They have concluded that they are in good health and are well fed, having been supplied with nine bails of fresh hay yesterday, which was supplied by the owner and delivered by DFRS, which they are still enjoying today.

“They have approximately an acre of land to roam and there is room for a significant rise before the horses will need to be relocated.

“Following a meeting of the relevant agencies it has been decided to leave these ‘hand-shy’ horses in situ, as they are safe and comfortable and the water surrounding them is deep and fast following. Any attempt to rescue the horses would place both the horses and rescuers at significant unnecessary risk.

“The situation is under constant review and the water levels in Stony Lane are being monitored, but are currently receding. Further food will be taken out to the horses as required and in consultation of the owner.”