A horse that bolted at a country fair in Suffolk, killing a 57-year-old woman, could have been spooked by a barking dog, an inquest has heard.
Carole Bullett from Bury St Edmunds died when she was knocked down by a horse and its carriage at Nowton Park Country Fair in June 2011.
Prior to the accident the four-year-old horse called Lucas had been giving carriage rides to visitors. However, according to one witness Vicky Bond, he was so "agitated and unhappy” that she had decided against taking her children for a ride.
“I heard one woman say ‘he’s not behaving himself’ or ‘he’s not happy’ or words to that effect,” said Bond.
Once Lucas had finished for the day, carriage drivers Duncan Drye and Sally Tyrell took off his bridle and put on a headcollar to give him some hay. However, they left the carriage attached.
It was then that the Breton draft horse was startled – possibly by a bull-terrier barking nearby – and bolted. Tyrell was heard calling for help, saying “You're going to have to get back here; Lucas has gone mad.”
Another witness reported that the loose horse then galloped towards the car park before “charging” back towards the showground stalls and hitting Carole Bullett, who was with her daughter and seven-year-old grandson.
“The dog saw the horses and got spooked and started barking,” he said. “I think it frightened the horse with the carriage.”
The grandmother, who was visually impaired, died at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge a day later, as a result of chest injuries. Seven other people were taken to hospital after the incident, but were all discharged following treatment.