Ottery man thanks farmer after help with horse death

A man whose horse drowned in the River Otter wanted to thank the farmer and emergency services who came to its aid.

Dr Robert Baker’s horse Mary suffered a medical episode in his field before breaking through a wire fence, falling through a hedge and into the water at Dunkirk in Ottery St Mary a fortnight ago.

A lady walking across the bridge saw the nine-year old mare struggling in the water, unable to scramble up the deep bank through the mud, and contacted the emergency services, but unfortunately she couldn’t be saved.

But Dr Baker praised the police and firemen who managed to tie his horse to a nearby tree, and local farmer John Nancekivell who was then contacted.

He arrived with a tractor in order to remove the horse’s body from the river and away from public sight.

Dr Baker wanted to thank Mr Nancekivell for taking Mary to his property at Island Farm, so her body was not left in the river until the vet was able to taker her away.

He said: “I’m so grateful for his help, I didn’t want to think of her lying in the river like that.

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“And being visible from the bridge I didn’t want anybody else to be distressed by seeing her.”

He said the horse, who was bought from the East Devon Hunt by Dr Baker to ride and help train up his daughter on her pony, had been fit and healthy.

She was seen with his other horses on land behind his house next to the Land of Canaan looking fine only minutes before the accident on Sunday, December 7.

Dr Baker, who has lived in Ottery for eight years, said he was going to ride her that morning, but was delayed and arrived late, only to be contacted around 11.15am to say she was in the river.

But he added he is thankful Mary was not out in the road when she fell ill where she could have caused damage to more than just herself.