Drama struck Devon County Show at the weekend (22-24 May). Not only was it forced to cancel its last day due to safety fears caused by heavy rain, but a freak accident meant 2 horses had to be cut out of a lorry.

The horses were trapped after an out-of-control van struck a truck, which collided with a horsebox.

It has been reported by local press that the driver of the van had suffered a seizure and crashed into the lorry.

Police, ambulance and the fire service were called to the car park just after 2pm on Friday (23 May).

“5 vehicles, including a horsebox with 2 horses inside, were involved,” said a spokesman for Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue. “Fire crews were called to cut the horses free and 1 of the animals had to be sedated.”

1 person was treated by paramedics with minor injuries and another was taken to hospital.

“Our horses were trapped inside for 3hr,” wrote Sarah Box on Facebook. “They were absolute stars. No one was injured, luckily, but had it been a minute or 2 later, our horses would have been tied up outside and crushed.”

Unrelated to the accident, Devon County, held at West Point Showground near Exeter, was cancelled for the first time in its 119-year history because of the wet weather. 

16 tractors were on site to tow out cars and lorries.

“Quite exceptionally heavy rainfall immediately before and during the show turned the car parks into quagmires, to the point where it would not be safe to allow people to park their cars,” said a spokesman.

“It was heartbreaking to have to make this decision, but we were left with no choice.”

First published in Horse and Hound on 29 May 2014