A 46-year-old horse stuck in a rising stream had to be rescued from certain death.

Neighbours noticed the horse, called Minnesota, in the Hamanatua Stream at Okitu, Gisborne, just before 7am on Friday morning. It had rained heavily the night before.

They suspect she may have tried to cross the river by her paddock and became stuck in the stream bed.

"She would have been in the freezing rising river for about 20 hours before we noticed her there.


"By then she was very cold, tired and wouldn't have lasted much longer," said one of the neighbours.

The couple quickly called Gisborne District Council, and animal control officers Vincent Torrez and Wayne Kerr responded, bringing bridles and rope.

Neighbours comforted the horse and helped cut away the bank to allow the tired horse to be led up it.

Minnesota is now recovering on dry land, has been fed apples and a vet has given her the all clear.