Owner’s call for law change after horse’s leg goes through horsebox floor

  • The owner of a horse whose leg went through a lorry floor inches from a wheel wants metal floors in horseboxes to be mandatory.

    Amy Poltinger’s horses were being driven by her partner Adam when her six-year-old Irish draught Daniel’s hind leg went through the floor of her horsebox on 6 March.

    Amy told H&H: “I was travelling in another horsebox behind but I was told Adam heard a bang and then a second one. A friend looked through the jockey door and it looked like Daniel had gone down.

    “My partner pulled straight over into a car park and a car was flashing and beeping at him. I got a phone call but I had already seen a piece of my lorry lying in the road and pulled in. Daniel’s leg had gone right through the floor and was a few inches away from the wheel.”

    Crew from Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service attended the scene along with vets from Corner House Equine Clinic and Walnut Hill Equine Veterinary Clinic.

    “The vets and fire service were there very quickly. The other horses were removed from the box and Daniel was sedated to make sure he didn’t struggle.

    “A second specialist unit animal rescue arrived from Bromyard fire station and they made a plan to get him out. The sides and roof of the lorry were cut off and hoisting equipment was used to lift him out. A local farmer came and helped with lifting him out with a tele-handler and Daniel was put on to a board and slid into a trailer.”

    Daniel was taken to an equine hospital, but has since returned home.

    “It was worrying because we couldn’t fully assess the damage he had done while he was in the box, we had to get him out. It took some time for him to come round at the hospital and he was very wobbly but he escaped with cuts and bruises. He’s home and he’s doing well,” said Amy.

    Amy, who had recently had the floor replaced, said it should be mandatory for all horseboxes to have metal floors.

    “We’ve always looked after the lorry and had the floor replaced a few months ago. We’ve received some negative comments online about what happened but it doesn’t matter if a lorry is two years old or 20. It’s not just about checking the floor, previous to having the floor replaced we had a sealed rubber floor so apart from looking underneath outside, we wouldn’t have been able to lift the matting and check the floor inside.

    “As a safety principle I think it should be mandatory for all lorries to have metal floors, it would take some of the risk factor away. Going forward we will always make sure to have a metal floor and I won’t be putting my horses in anything that doesn’t have one.”

    Amy said the fire service and vets were “invaluable”.

    “They were amazing. They kept me updated and knew what they were doing and did it the quickest way they could. The fire service followed us to the vets to help get Daniel out of the trailer – everybody went over and beyond to help us.”

    Richie Jordan, group commander of Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We are really pleased to hear that Daniel is expected to make a full recovery after his three-hour ordeal.

    “It is not yet clear why the floor had failed but we would urge all horse owners to regularly check the floors of their horseboxes, especially underneath rubber matting to check for any unseen damage or weaknesses.”

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