Hartpury College is investigating, after a vehicle collided with a competitor at its horse trials on Saturday (10 August).

Tom Rowland and his CCI2* ride W Iridium were travelling between fences 7 and 8 on the cross-country course when they were hit by the event’s director, Sarah Phillips.

The 22-year-old rider described the accident as a “terrifying experience”. Ms Phillips’ 4×4, he added, looked like it had gone “into a wall”. A picture, taken by spectator Katy Vincent (above) shows the extent of the damage.

He tweeted: “We honestly could have been killed”.

Ms Phillips said she was “completely devastated” by the incident.

The 10-year-old gelding was, said a statement released by Hartpury, “relatively unscathed” by the ordeal.

Hartpury horse (after crash)

“’Viz’ is a little stiff by astonishingly normal,” Tom tweeted yesterday (11 August).

“He will be having full x-rays and scans this week and hopefully we can then start thinking about an autumn season.”

Hartpury says it will refund Tom’s entries and pay for any veterinary treatment necessary.

In a statement, college principal Russell Marchant said they would “learn from this and ensure the event organising committee takes all the steps necessary to minimise the risk of an incident like this happening again”.

The collision happened near a crossing point on the course. Competitors and spectators have asked whether it was adequately manned.

Blenheim Horse Trials (12-15 September) has since said it will be reviewing who “really needs to be driving around the site during the event and issuing new guidelines”.

Tom was able to ride another horse, The Carnival Cavalier, the next day (11 August) in the CCI*. They came eighth.

He said a mounted prize giving was “just the tonic” he needed, after Saturday’s events.