Goldie the Welsh Mountain pony is safe and sound after three days stranded at cliff base

Wednesday 26 March 2014

ABB_5237 (1024x678)A Welsh mountain pony has been successfully rescued from the base of a cliff in Carmarthenshire following a major two-day rescue operation involving the RSPCA, coastguard and fire service.

Two-year-old gelding, “Goldie” had slipped 20 metres down a steep slope into an isolated cove at Marros near Pendine and was unable to get back up.

The RSPCA were called by the coastguard on the evening of Sunday 23 March but as it had already started to become dark it became clear that there would be no easy way of getting the pony off the beach that night. As the pony was uninjured and in good health and the coastguard advised that the incoming tide could not reach him, Goldie was left overnight with fresh water and hay.

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The following day, Monday 24 March, a team from the RSPCA and coastguard returned with a vet to the cove. It was agreed that the safest way of getting Goldie off the beach was by airlifting him by helicopter. Unfortunately the RAF didn’t have a helicopter available and a second option of swimming the pony into the sea and attaching him to the RNLI lifeboat was also ruled out due to the rough seas and high wind. With options fast running out it was reluctantly decided to leave Goldie for another night and try again the following day.

On Tuesday 25 March a team from the RSPCA, coastguard and Mid and West Wales fire service decided that sedating Goldie and hoisting him up the cliff face using the fire service’s heavy-lifting equipment was the only option.

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Goldie was checked over again and found to be in good health. He was placed in a safety harness, and once sedated by the vet was quickly wrapped in heavy-duty tarpaulin which acted like a protective bag around him while he was slowly hoisted to the top of the slope. Once at the surface he was gently brought round and within 20 minutes was walking around as if nothing had happened!

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RSPCA inspector Richard Abbott said: “The forces of good came together on day two of this rescue. A large coastguard team and Mid & West fire service turned out to help this little Welsh mountain pony, who we have affectionately nicknamed Cliff.

“It was a very difficult walk to get to Goldie with heavy kit, but team work, good weather and a very well behaved pony meant Goldie was rescued with absolutely no injuries at all”.

Mid and West Wales fire and rescue service Station Manager, Simon Pearson said: “We had a good mile and half walk to the rescue location with various items of equipment which created a physically demanding start to the operation. However, we worked well with our partners in what was a very challenging and technically demanding rescue. The fire crews from Whitland did an outstanding job and I’d like to extend my thanks to them and all our partners for their work in bringing the horse to safety.”

Goldie has now been returned to his owner who is absolutely thrilled to have him back safe and sound.

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