A DRAMATIC three-hour rescue operation by firefighters saw a thoroughbred racing horse being lifted out of a river by a telehandler.

At The Teme Valley Hunt and United Pack Point-to-Point meeting at Brampton Bryan on Saturday an eight-year-old horse called All Star Vinnie fell at the second fence, losing the jockey along the way.

The horse's trainer and part-owner, Callum Bickers-Price, expected All Star Vinnie to continue on the course but the horse had other ideas.

Callum, who was 21 yesterday and trains All Star Vinnie at his family farm near Bromyard, said: "He decided to not follow the rest of the field around the course. He took a diverse route and tried to jump the river. He fell in and didn't make it to the other end.

"He swam down to the end where it was shallow but then he was at risk of falling over the weir."

He said due to the angle the horse had managed to get himself into the River Teme he could not get back as the water was too deep and the other way was a 10-foot drop down a weir.

They rang the fire service and crews from Leintwardine and Hereford attended, as well as the animal rescue team from Bromyard.

Callum got in the water and he said he was stood in the water for two hours along with Jack Cundy and a vet from the Three Counties Equine Hospital.

A farmer then went and got a telehandler and lifting straps.

Callum said: "It was decided we will have to lift him out. It was the only way we were going to do it. It was either that or he will go over the edge.

"He was stood there as good as gold. As we lifted him out he went mad. He was thrashing about and me and the vet tried to keep him straight.

"It was carnage. He kicked me square between the eyes but luckily I had a helmet on from the fire service. He kicked me so hard I fell back into the river."

The back harness holding his back legs then snapped and he was just attached by the front legs. Luckily he then managed to get a grip on the land and was walked to safety.

Callum said: "The whole thing took the best part of three and a half hours by the time we walked him back to the lorry park." He praised the fire service and everyone who helped, including groom Helen Millward.

He said unfortunately All Star Vinnie's racing career might be over as he may have a fracture to his pelvis.

He added: "People are calling him the wonder horse. Any other horse would have panicked. There were ten people around him at one point and he never even moved. He just stood there

"It was miraculous he didn't break a bone."