FIREFIGHTERS raced against time to save an international show jumping horse which was trapped in the River Lugg today.

Known as Europe’s best cremello stallion the horse from Ivy Stud in north Herefordshire jumped over a fence before falling down a six-foot drop into the river.

Firefighters faced a race against time to save the prized horse before it suffered hypothermia.

The horse named Crown’s Ace Of Pearl is a sought after stallion in the breeding season in the UK and all around the world, he has offspring in UK, Australia, New Zealand and across Europe.

'Ace', who was the former dressage champion in Ireland, show jumps every summer but due to the current restrictions he is currently resting before the season commences.

However, after jumping the fence at his yard the stallion swam up stream before becoming stuck.

"With help from friends and passers by we managed to get Ace’s head safely above the water and although stuck in the mud he was safe from drowning," said Ben Thomas-Cook from Ivy Stud.

"After attempts by everyone we had around us we knew this was a loosing battle."

Firefighters from Bromyard and Hereford were called to help with the rescue attempts.

"We needed to get him out very quickly as it looked like he was getting hypothermia," added Mr Thomas-Cook.

"It was a race against time as Ace had been in the water over 20 minutes and had been in the water one hour and 30 minutes in total when he was pulled out.

"They were fantastic and we cannot thank them enough for their quick thinking in what was an extremely difficult situation to get him out of.

"Everyone including passers by all worked together to do their bit in a bid to try and get him out alive.

"They could not use any machinery because of the position Ace was in. It was just force and man power that all pulled to help get Ace out."

Mr Thomas-Cook stayed by Ace’s side while he was being rescued to keep him calm.

Once the stallion was safely out of the river and pulled up the bank and onto the road a vet was quickly on the scene to give Ace medical treatment.

"Ace is not only our special stallion but he is part of our family and he means the world to all of us at the stud, added Mr Thomas-Cook.

"He really is our number one boy. We are so so pleased to say that Ace will be fine and luckily only has some superficial cuts and that we have managed to keep the hypothermia at bay.

"He will be perfectly fine in a couple of days. We are so lucky he is so well behaved or the outcome could have been very different."

Mr Thomas-Cook would like to thank the firefighters and everybody who helped to save Ace.

The Ivy Stud are planning on putting on a fundraiser for Bromyard and Hereford Fire Services and anybody with any ideas should message them on Facebook.

"Let’s support the fantastic services that we do have, we all need them, this is a situation we never imagined that we would be in," added Mr Thomas-Cook

He has jumped and won international classes in Ireland and UK. As a 4 year old he was the dressage champion in Ireland.