A Penngrove horse fell into a septic tank early Monday, landing precariously with its back legs six feet down in the muck.

Owners of the horse, kept at an Elysian Avenue ranch, called for help at about 3:30 a.m. The four-year-old horse had fallen while standing on ground over the tank, which collapsed.

Rancho Adobe firefighters found themselves faced with an unusual rescue, said Jimmy Bernal, Rancho Adobe acting fire captain.

"(Its) back legs were inside the septic tank, which was about six-feet deep. The front legs were out of the hole," said Bernal.

Firefighters brainstormed the best rescue method available at that hour.

"That type of animal, we wanted to do it gently. We couldn't put chains around it," he said.

"Plan &‘A' was to use a hose. Plan &‘B,' we'd come up with that after A failed," said Bernal.

They put the hose around its back side.

About eight people, including firefighters from two stations and the horse's owners, took the ends and slowly and as gently as possible, pulled up and out.

After a few minutes the tired horse was back on solid ground.

"He was pretty dirty but we got him out. And he was limping a little bit, but he appeared to be OK," said Bernal.

Firefighters were told a vet would examine the horse later Monday morning and they hoped to go by and see her themselves.

"Out of 11 years, that was my first horse call," said the firefighter. "It was interesting."