Outcry over advertisement of horse involved in fatal accident

  • Advertisements that described a horse involved in a fatal collision last summer as “100% safe” have been pulled following public outcry.

    Carole Bullett, 57, from Bury St Edmunds, died following the incident at Nowton Country Park Fair in Suffolk, on 19 June when the horse, then owned by Duncan Drye, careered into spectators while towing a wagon offering rides to the public (news, 23 June).

    Eight other people were taken to hospital and a health and safety investigation is ongoing.

    In the advert, which appeared on the Reflex Equestrian website in early October, Urasio, a rising four-year-old strawberry roan cob, was advertised for sale as “100% safe in all ways, so laid-back, brilliant in heavy traffic, not silly or spooky”.

    But following concerns posted on the H&H forum, among others, the horse has been taken off the market.

    The advert also claimed the gelding had been investigated by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) and declared safe.

    This has been denied by the HSE.

    John Claxton, the HSE inspector working on this case, said: “I understand that it has been claimed that the horse involved in the fatal accident at Nowton Park has been declared 100% safe and the HSE investigation completed.

    “These claims are totally untrue. It is the responsibility of any horse owner to assess the suitability of a horse for its intended use and to ensure the horse is handled in a safe way.”

    The horse was known as “Lucas” when owned by carriage driver Mr Drye from Bury St Edmunds.

    The gelding was being sold by Teza Englefield, the dealer in Maldon, Essex, who imported him from France in 2009, and runs Reflex Equestrian.

    Ms Englefield did not wish to comment, but said the horse is no longer for sale.

    She said the horse had been returned to his owner and would not be put back on the market until after the inquest into Mrs Bullett’s death.

    Mr Drye says he has sold Urasio, so the identity of the current owner is unknown.

    The inquest remains open, with no date yet set for the coroner’s hearing.

    This news story was first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound (13 October, 2011)

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