Guidelines drawn up to prevent horses suffering unnecessarily in accidents broke down after a collision in Bristol.

A horse was catastrophically injured last month after bolting with its rider and crashing into a car.

With no vet to be found, the animal bled to death in 45min, and witnesses said police did not allow a farmer to shoot the horse as they could not find the owner.

As a result, Bristol charity HorseWorld held a meeting of animal welfare organisations, vets, police and fire brigade to find out why the Emergency Services Protocol, launched two years ago to help in such circumstances, had not worked.

But only half the delegates had heard of the protocol.

HorseWorld consultant Amanda Cranston suggested local lists of vets be drawn up, as well as the full register on the protocol: “Clear lines of local communication need to be established,” she said.

Delegates said the guidelines need greater promotion, and a follow-up liaison meeting was set for 10 April 2010.

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (17 September, ’09)