Two carriage horses brought traffic in Ipswich to a standstill, after bolting from a funeral cortege. The Dutch-bred horses were lucky to escape major injury as they charged down the A12 in Suffolk.

The two black carriage horses were being harnessed to lead the funeral procession of 75-year-old Charles Andrews from Sproughton, on Friday last week, when they were startled and took off.

Fortunately the coffin had not yet been loaded onto the carriage. “The horses were taking part in a traditional horse drawn funeral procession, pulling the hearse. They are experienced and well used to this type of work,” said Chris Bacon of Ipswich and Norwich Co-op Funeral Service. “What startled them is anybody’s guess. Unfortunately they collided with the motor hearse which was stationary at the time.”

At 1pm a witness informed police of two horses running down London Road in Ipswich, heading towards the busy Copdock interchange. Suffolk police confirm that the horses hit two cars before being caught by their owner on the A12 southbound, near Copdock Mill. “Sadly the horses were injured and the carriage sustained damage,” said a police spokesman.

Pegasus Horses and Carriages of Rollesby, Norfolk, which owns the horses, insists they escaped serious injury. “We drove them out the next day,” a spokesman told H&H.

“It was a very windy day and a rubbish bag blowing round frightened them,” he continued, adding that the motor hearse was used for the rest of the ceremony.