‘I don’t think he saw us until he hit us’: horse ‘catapulted’ from trailer in collision

The owner of a horse who was “catapulted” from a trailer when a pickup truck crashed into the towing vehicle has urged drivers to be more aware on the roads.

Karen and Gary Frost from Holsworthy were transporting 10-year-old gelding Sabi to a friend’s when they were hit by a Izusu D-Max pulling out of a garage on 18 August on the A3888 in Holsworthy, Devon.

“We were on the main road and the driver was stationary looking up the hill to his right,” Karen told H&H.

“There was a car coming down the hill and the driver put his foot down and pulled out trying to beat the car. I don’t think he saw us until he hit us. We had a split second when we knew he was going to hit us. Gary works as an HGV driver and knew he couldn’t brake or the trailer would have jack-knifed, so he tried to go for a gap but our truck was hit at the back which made the trailer go up and over the driver’s truck.”

Karen said the trailer hit a concrete pillar attached to a house’s garden gate.

“We were lucky the pillar was there as it pushed us back on to the road or our truck would have gone right over. By this point the side of the trailer had come off and Sabi was catapulted out,” she said.

“When we stopped  I said to Gary I didn’t want to look. When I got out and I saw Sabi lying on the road in the debris with his legs under the trailer. I ran to him and he was very calm lying there. I don’t know if he’d been knocked out but I stroked his face and told him ‘it was ok’. I heard someone screaming for help and realised it was me.”

Karen said Sabi took a deep breath and then “flight mode kicked in”.

“His legs and debris were flying everywhere. He pulled himself out from under the trailer and went over the top of me,” she said. “Gary caught him and we noticed the haynet was completely wrapped around his front legs and the emergency bungee was still attached to part of the trailer that had come away. We managed to cut him free and Sabi walked away so calmy – It was like everything was on our side.

“David Rowlands from Penrode Vets was there within 15 minutes and was great. He sedated Sabi and treated his cuts but said Sabi had been very lucky. After the sedation wore off a neighbour collected him in a 3.5 tonne box. I thought we’d never get Sabi in but he just walked straight in – it’s amazing how trusting horses are.”

Karen suffered whiplash and bruising in the accident while Gary was uninjured. Sabi was treated with antibiotics for cuts but suffered no serious injuries.

“I broke my toe which I think was Sabi when he trodded on me getting up and Gary was shaken but has now returned to work,” said Karen.

“We had the vet back out for another assessment of Sabi’s head and eyes but everything is good. Today (27 August) I got back on for the first time and Sabis’ ears were forward and I feel more positive, you’ve got to stop thinking what if. Animals are amazing they live in the moment, if only we could do that too.”

Karen wants road users to be more aware of trailers.

“I have no ill will towards the driver, he didn’t mean it and ­an accident is an accident. But we all need to slow down on the roads; everyone is in such a rush these days,” she said.

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“People need to be aware you can’t move a trailer out of the way that quickly and I think a lot of drivers don’t realise that. They’ll dart out in front of you because they don’t want to be behind you. When your precious cargo is in the back you are so aware of what you’re carrying and people have to be more aware and think.

“We had no control over the event – we could see it was going to happen in that split second. We were helpless and all we could hear was the noise of the trailer crumpling and smashing – it was the most awful thing.”

A spokesman for Devon & Cornwall Police said officers were called to the scene at 9.20am and the driver of the Izusu D-Max vehicle was reported for driving offences.

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