Three of Paul Tapner’s horses had a lucky escape when an articulated lorry collided with one of his horseboxes yesterday morning (27 February).

The lorry had broken down en route for showjumping at Summerhouse Equestrian Centre.

It was awaiting assistance on the hard shoulder of the A419 dual carriageway near Daglingworth, Gloucestershire when the accident took place at 9am.

A Polish articulated lorry collided with the stationary truck.

The impact ripped the box open and threw the horse on the end out on to the road.

Paul was in another lorry and was driving back to help his head-girl, Zoe Wilkinson, who was driving the stricken horsebox.

He was 100m away, on the other side of the dual carriageway, and witnessed the accident.

“The horse on the rear got thrown out, span a circle in mid-air and landed splat on the road — I don’t know how it’s still alive,” said Paul.

“He then got up and trotted towards the oncoming traffic, but luckily everyone stopped and he was caught.”

“My colours are red, so what with the horsebox and the horse’s rugs being red, it looked like there was a lot of blood [on the horse] from where I was, but in fact it’s just cuts and bruises,” Paul added.

The middle horse of the three on board sustained the worst injuries, and has had extensive stitches to his head.

But all three horses and Zoe, who watched the crash play out in her rear-view mirror, escaped serious injury.

Paul confirmed last year’s Badminton winner, Inonothing, was not in the box, nor any of his other four-star rides.

But he did not want to name the horses involved.

“They were all young thoroughbreds — four and five-year-olds,” he said.

“They unloaded off the mangled truck and reloaded to the other truck perfectly. They’ve been checked by vets and at this stage they all seem ok.”