A horseowner is seeking legal advice after her horse was electrocuted and died while out riding in West Yorkshire.

Tina Brown and Merlin, 11, were riding along a wet verge on Station Road, East Ardsley, on 4 September when the horse suddenly shot forward.

“It felt like he had been shot,” Ms Brown told H&H. “He groaned and collapsed. It was awful.”

It was not until a friend arrived and tried to remove Merlin’s bridle that they realised he had been electrocuted.

Ms Brown said: “When she took off the bridle she touched the metal bit — and was thrown flat on her back by the current.”

The vet arrived after 20 minutes and sedated Merlin until engineers from Yorkshire Electricity Distribution arrived two hours later, hoping to save the horse by turning off the electricity supply.

“But by that time Merlin’s heart and brain would have been too damaged,” explained Ms Brown.

Roadworks were taking place in Station Road and it is thought that a damaged electrical cable had made the area live. It is also thought that Ms Brown was not affected by the current because she was wearing rubber boots.

A spokesman for West Yorkshire police said: “We were called to an incident where a horse appears to have died of electrocution. Leeds health and safety are investigating.”

A Leeds City Council spokesman said: “We are saddened to hear of this matter and are looking into it.”

Ms Brown has been told that no action can be taken until after the enquiry. But she is seeking legal redress using another case as a precedent.

Twenty-three years ago Caryl Davies from Pembroke Stud in Wales received compensation after her mare Glad Tidings was electrocuted in her field.

The mare survived, but was badly burned, and Ms Davies was awarded the horse’s worth in compensation.

Ms Brown said she too wants compensation : “My horse was electrocuted by somebody’s negligence and so we thought it best to speak to a solicitor.”

CE Electric, which owns Yorkshire Electricity Distribution, was unavailable for comment.

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (18 September, ’08)