Angels come in many different guises, luckily for Ralph the gelding, who was in dire need of divine intervention last Friday.
The 22-year-old Smokeytown pony was braving the dramatic flood conditions that battered the region late last week, when the earth literally fell beneath him.
Ralph fell into an historic brick-walled septic pit, more than two metres deep, which hadn’t been used for decades and was unknown to his owner Kristina Beaumont.
The flood waters had caused the previously-obscured slab covering the pit, which Ralph was standing on, to cave in.
At first Ms Beaumont couldn’t find him, until she heard his whinny. He was up to his neck in water and clearly distressed.
She bailed the water from the pit so he was only stuck to his ankles.
Ms Beaumont then covered him in a blanket and put down food for him, but was unable to get help from nearby emergency services to extract the submerged creature.
In the end, Sheryl and Chris Giles from the Horse Shepherd Equine Sanctuary in Gordon came to the rescue.
Mr Giles jumped into the pit with Ralph, calming him and helping direct a nearby excavator operator, Gordon Hearn, who had also come to help.
Ms Beaumont had nothing but praise for the Giles’.
“Chris Giles risked his life to save my pony,” she said.
”If it weren’t for them, I’m not sure the pony would have lived. They’re unsung heroes in the community.”
Mr Hearn managed to pull one end of the septic pit away, allowing Ralph to escape.
“As soon as he got out, he jumped out and ran around – he was so happy to get out. He hasn’t been around the back of the shed since.”
She said Ralph seemed to have a knack for attracting bad luck.
“We have had him since he was four. Ralph seems to attract drama. He has been stolen, and coveted by people,” she said.
However, Ms Beaumont also said Ralph could be something of a hero himself.
“He (once) rescued my daughter when she was stuck in mud. He kept whinnying until I was alerted.”
The Giles and their Horse Shepherd Equine Sanctuary have been involved in a number of high-profile rescues, including the rehabilitation of a number of horses involved in a mass starvation case in February this year.