Heavy horse breeder Adrian Garrett says it was a dreadful moment when his 16-year-old Shire horse Marion, pulling a cart, slipped in central Kerikeri on Monday and sank to the tarmac.
She and her stablemate Whaler were approaching the Kerikeri Rd-Fairway Dr intersection at the time.
"She seemed to lose her balance and then couldn't retrieve her footing – it was most unusual as she is an experienced horse," Mr Garrett says.
Adrian's horses and carriage are regulars in central Kerikeri and are highly billed at town events such as the Christmas parade.
Adrian's helpers arrived within minutes from his Inlet Rd property, a vet was on hand and people from nearby offices helped push and pull Marion on to her feet.
"It was so wonderful. I am so appreciative. About a dozen people came to help, some bringing rubber mats from nearby offices, to help her gain traction. When she was up and we were walking down the road people stopped to ask how she was."
The second horse pulling the carriage, 9-year-old Whaler, remained calm throughout.
"My horses support each other," Mr Garrett says.
Adrian is passionate about preserving rare breeds of heavy horses, the skills in driving them and he has a collection of 19th century horse-drawn vehicles still in use.
The carriage, built in 1883, was undamaged except for a broken pole, which can be fixed, he says.
Marion was later fully checked by a vet.
"She has no injured bones or muscles but blood samples have been taken and she is on antibiotics," Mr Garrett says.
- Bay Chronicle