A stampede of 100 horses in Germany has left 44 people injured, many of them children.

According to local reports, the horses and their riders were taking part in a night procession in Emsland when they were spooked — possibly when a burning torch was dropped.

One 14-year-old girl was critically injured in the horse stampede, but her condition has now been described as stable.

Around 100 children were taking part in the night-time ride in Germany, all aged between 8 and 17.

Police spokesman Achim von Remmerden told local news Channel NTV that an investigation into what spooked the horses has been launched.

But German media reports suggest that one of the adults dropped a burning torch.