A wonderful story and an evocative picture

Once upon a time everybody understood the bonds that could form between people and their horses and this picture brings that back to us.

Can someone who knows horses well read anything in the expression of the horse?

It was a race against the tide that pulled at the heartstrings.

For three hours, show horse Astro was stuck neck deep in thick mud at Avalon Beach on Corio Bay in Victoria [Australia] as the tide inched closer.

Rescue crews first tried to pull the 18-year-old, 500kg horse free with fire hoses, and then a winch before a vet turned up to sedate Astro and pull him clear with a tractor.

The crews knew by 5pm the tide would have come all the way in. But within minutes of the waters rising around him, Astro was being dragged up on to solid ground slowly but surely, the team filthy but ecstatic.

Owner Nicole Graham said she and daughter Paris, 7, set off at noon when without warning she sunk up to her waist in thick, smelly muck.

She wouldn't leave Astro's side until he was free. "It was terrifying," Ms Graham said. "Every time I moved it sucked me back down."


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