Horses freed after getting stuck in sinking sand in Merthyr Mawr

Horse stuck in sand Image copyright Claire Healy
Image caption Claire Healy used social media to warn other riders of the danger

Two horses were rescued from sinking sand after becoming stuck on a beach.

Claire Healy, 32, from Pontypridd, said she was "frantic" when the horses "stumbled and did a flip" at Merthyr Mawr sand dunes, Bridgend, on Saturday.

She said they managed to free them after an hour, just before firefighters arrived. Ms Healy is now using social media to warn other riders.

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) manages the area and said it "should not be ridden on".

It said it had cordoned off the area and put up signs to warn people to stay clear.

Image copyright Claire Healy
Image caption She said her horses were stuck for over an hour

Ms Healy said it had been a dry day and the incident happened completely out of the blue: "The ground underneath us felt the same everywhere - it was just that patch on the dunes."

Ms Healy and her daughter Megan, 14, ride in the area most weekends but she said the incident had left them too afraid to return: "I'll never go back there again," she said.

Image copyright Claire Healy
Image caption Ms Healy says she was "frantic" during the incident

"We'll have to stick to the mountains."

'So scared'

She posted photographs of the incident and a warning on Facebook: "To all the horsey people on my Facebook, please take note.

"On Merthyr Mawr today we hit sinking sand and nearly lost our horses, they were stuck there for well over an hour, this was on a bridle path.

"Please be careful."

She thanked passers-by and the fire service for their help, adding: "Never been so scared in all my life."

"We're sorry to hear about this horse riding incident and we hope they and their horses are safe and well," said Duncan Ludlow of NRW.

He asked riders to get a permit to use the marked routes through the dunes to "keep people safe and to avoid disturbance or damage to fragile habitats, archaeology and wildlife".

Image copyright Claire Healy
Image caption Claire Healey said the horses were freed just before the fire service arrived

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