Horse killed when rear ramp on trailer opened while in transit

  • RUGELEY police are appealing for information following a road traffic accident that resulted in the death of a mare who was twice placed at the Horse of the Year Show (HOYS).

    Puzzled Bride, who competed in coloured horse classes, was killed instantly on being hit by a lorry when the ramp of her trailer came down on the A5182 at Butterton, near Stoke-on-Trent, on Saturday, 4 October

    The 12-year-old mare, who was owned by Sarah Bennett, was on loan to Samantha Wallbanks.

    Samantha and her husband, Mark, were travelling to the Alsager Equestrian Centre for the Northern Counties Pony Association (Maelor branch), Coloured Horse and Pony Society (CHAPS), British Show Pony Society (BSPS) and Ponies UK ridden coloured horse qualifying show when the incident happened.

    “Mark had checked the trailer was secure before they set out,” said Ms Bennett. “But they encountered roadworks 10 minutes from home and we can only think the pins popped out going through the roadworks.”

    The Wallbanks heard a slight noise, and pulled over to check the trailer as soon as it was safe to do so. But they discovered the ramp was down and the trailer empty.

    “Sam ran back up road,” said Ms Bennett. “But she was stopped from approaching the horse, which had suffered horrific injuries.”

    The lorry driver was unhurt.

    Ms Bennett added: “I am concerned [about the safety of this trailer model] and don’t want this to happen to anyone else.”

    Rugeley Police are working closely with the Vehicle & Operator Services Agency, and are keen to hear from anyone who has had a similar experience with a trailer.

    “We’ve heard of similar incidents anecdotally, but it’s a matter of tracing the people this has happened to,” said PC Kate Hardt.

    If you have any information, contact PC Hardt on 0300 1234455.

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