A horse is recovering after being hit “deliberately” by a car pulling a trailer while being ridden in a country lane.

The right side of Nigel’s body was slashed from “hind leg to head” when the horse was hit near Mattishall in Norfolk.

The eight-year-old Westfalen, who has appeared in advertising for Allen & Page horse feed, was hospitalised for a week and faces eight weeks of box rest following the incident on 19 September.

His owner, Lisa McQuiston, of Mattishall, said: “We were out walking. Then we heard a 4×4 with a trailer on the back coming really fast.

“My friend Natasha who was on Nigel — I was on another horse — she put her arm out to slow the driver down.

“But he put his hand on the horn repeatedly and drove faster.

“He knocked Nigel literally to his knees. I couldn’t say how fast he was going. Natasha stayed on.”

Nigel was tended by a vet, who stapled and bandaged the horse at the scene. He was then transferred to Rossdale and partners equine hospital in Newmarket.

Miss McQuiston said: “He is extremely traumatised; I didn’t expect him to be this bad. He has to stay in the stable, resting for eight weeks. He’s extremely sore and very cut up.

“The trailer hit Nigel all the way along the right side of his body from his hind legs, to his shoulder, to his head, his knee and even cut through his double bridle.

“We are dealing with the obvious problems. But we don’t know if there’s any internal or psychological damage.

A Norfolk police spokesman confirmed a man was helping them with their inquiries.