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The message to the fire brigade is always the same: Come quickly, a poor little pony has got stuck in the mud.

Four times rescuers have raced to the banks of the River Test to help the stricken animal – only to see her happily trot away.

Not sinking, just stumpy: The pony's short legs create the illusion that she's sunk up to the knees

The reason for the 999 calls is not that the pony has sunk in the mire, but that she simply has very short legs.
Now her owner is considering putting up a sign outside the field in Southampton advising motorists that she is stocky, not stuck. Sandra Whitcher said the pony, called Mayflower, is a pure-bred 12-year-old Shetland.

'People are always saying she has got stuck in mud. The only problem with putting up a sign is that one day she might actually get stuck and then the fire brigade won't turn up.'

Low-rise: Mayflower the Shetland pony has been nicknamed Shorty by locals after four callouts from people thinking she's sinking

Two fire engines and a specialist lifting vehicle were dispatched to Mayflower. According to government estimates, the average cost of the fire brigade attending a false alarm is £1,970.

Fire brigade animal rescue expert Anton Phillips said: 'From 200 yards away it does look like the pony is trapped in the mud, especially when it is standing next to New Forest ponies which are about twice as tall.

'It is right for the public to call us if they are concerned. But every time we get there we can see very quickly what we are dealing with – a pony with short legs.'

I don't know what it is about those stubby legs that make me want to squeal and give that pony a giant hug.

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Comment by Geri & Sidney on March 13, 2009 at 3:06am
That was a cute story! Thank you for sharing :-)

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