Horses trapped by floodwater in Essex had to swim to reach dry land under the careful guidance of rescue teams.

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The eight horses had become stranded near the River Chelmer in Chelmsford on Friday prompting a rescue operation coordinated by the RSPCA and firefighters.

Inspector Nicky Thorne of the RSPCA said the rescue went “very smoothly indeed”.

“The team worked very carefully and slowly to move the horses,” she said.

“In one place the horses had to go through a ditch where the water was deeper and they had to swim a few steps but despite being a bit wet they were none the worse for their experience.

“The horses were next to a shopping centre, a pub and a road so we had quite a few people watching.”

The rescue workers managed to usher five of the horses to safety on Friday.

Specialist teams returned to the flooded fields the following day and were able to round up the remaining three.

A member of the British Horse Society then helped put head collars on the rescued horses and loaded them into a horse box.

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