If you’re involved in a road accident with a horse box attached to your car then your first instinct is likely to be checking on the animals inside. However, this is something that should definitely be avoided, never enter a horse box after an accident; always wait for emergency services and the relevant animal welfare service as this is safer for you and your horse.
Animal rescue specialists give this advice if you’re involved in any kind of accident with your horse box:
- Make sure no one enters the horse box to assist the horse because this puts you and the horse in more danger and means you’re at risk of causing further injury to both you and your horse(s)
- Avoid opening the horse box – this includes doors and ramps – because it’ll stress the horse out further and could cause it to bolt, making the situation a lot worse. If you’re on a main road, a stressed, bolting horse is a danger to you, itself and other members of the public – drivers and pedestrians – because it could cause unnecessary collisions and possibly even get killed
- One of the most important things to remember is to stay calm. Although that might sound stupid at such a serious time, it’s really important for keeping your horse calm too. If you remain calm then it’s a form of reassurance for them in what is an extremely scary situation
- Call the local fire brigade and ask for the animal rescue team. Make sure you explain the situation fully and give them as much information as you can about your location so that they can get to you quickly, without any problems
- If you’re close to home, call your own large-animal vet, if you’re away from home then inform the fire brigade of this and they’ll contact a specialist equine vet to attend the scene
- Keeping the scene calm is imperative, if there are a few people with you and you’re close to a road, make sure they slow traffic or divert it safely away from the accident site. When the fire service and vet arrive, they are likely to use sedatives and even anaesthetic to rescue the horse in a calm and safe manner. For this to work effectively, the horse needs not to have high levels of adrenaline in its system – stress and panic cause the body to release adrenaline which prevents sedatives or anaesthetic from working as they should
- When the attending vet arrives, give them all the information they could need including:
- Medical history and conditions
- Normal behaviour
- Dislikes – i.e. being blindfolded, aversion to men or women etc.
- The destination you’d like the horse to be returned to after rescue
Although your horse is likely to be your biggest concern in any kind of road accident involving them, it’s important to follow normal road traffic accident procedures if there’s another vehicle or person involved.
After ensuring that you’re okay, it’s imperative to check on people in any other vehicle. Once you’ve established that everyone’s okay, take photographs of any damage that’s been caused to the vehicles – including the horse box – as well as photos of the scene.
You should also gather as much information as possible from anyone else involved, including their names, addresses, vehicle make and model and insurance provider. The same applies to any witnesses. If possible, try to make them stick around until the emergency services arrive, but if this isn’t possible, establish names, addresses and contact numbers.