Hunt saboteurs joined forces with huntsmen as they came together to rescue a horse which had become trapped in a deep bog.
Members of Surrey Hunt Monitors and Guildford Hunt Saboteurs were following a group of hunters from the Surrey Hunt Union near Hankley Common on Saturday.
They planned to track the hunt and document their activities, and intervene if any animals got hurt.
But after just 30 minutes one of the lead huntsman’s horses got stuck in a deep bog – and the saboteurs stepped in to help their adversaries rescue the distressed animal.
A member of Guildford Hunt Saboteurs, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “When I arrived, they [the hunt] had started to take the saddle off the horse to reduce weight.
“I waited until they had done that to ask if they needed help but they said ‘no’ so I observed at the side and carried on taking footage.”
He said more saboteurs arrived on the scene and the hunters continued to refuse assistance, but eventually relented and let them help.
“I jumped in after about five minutes and said to them ‘look, the only thing that’s important at this point in time is the horse, I don’t care about anything else’.
“At that point, I think they were quite happy for me to assist.
“At the end, the joint hunt master thanked us for our help and said we had been a great help.”
The Surrey Hunt Monitors said they decided to intervene because the horse was “well stuck, freezing cold and clearly stressed”.
A spokesman for the group added: “The horse was very lucky to have survived its ordeal and we were happy we were there with the saboteurs to offer assistance.
“It was heartening to hear the appreciation of the hunt master to all of us who helped when we all made it out of the area safely.”
Surrey Police officers were also called to the scene to help with the rescue.
A police spokesman said the hunters were “grateful to the help offered” and that the horse “appeared to have no obvious injuries”.
The Surrey Hunt Union says members hunt around the county throughout the hunting season within the restrictions set out in the Hunting Act 2004.
Speaking on behalf of the group, Jeremy Gumbley said the horse is fine and thanked the saboteurs for their help.
“In the ideal scenario, you never want this to happen,” he said.
“The horses are part of the team and we care for them just as much as anyone else. To have that happen is a potential disaster.
“All credit to our Surrey Hunt Monitors and the saboteurs. In the past, we have come to blows over different opinions on various things, but we all love animals.”
He added: “It was quite refreshing to see solidarity, with the human species coming together to help one of our friends.”
Using dogs to hunt foxes was banned by the Government in 2004 under the Hunting Act.
But there are dozens of hunt saboteur groups nationwide who claim hunters regularly flout the law and kill foxes.