Red Arrows sued after horse is ‘killed’ by low-flying jets

March 29, 2010 | by | 0 Comments

An equestrian who claims her horse died after being spooked by the Red Arrows is suing the Ministry of Defence for damages.

Distraught Laura Head, 25, says her £7,000 horse Alfie smashed its head against a stable door when nine of the display team roared overhead.

She had only owned two-year old German horse Warmblood for ten days and says he was a ”star in the making” on the dressage circuit.

Laura, of Plymouth, Devon, made an official complaint about the Red Arrows team to the MoD after the incident.

But she has had no response and is now launching a civil action.

She said: ”He looked like he panicked and ran straight into a wall, hit his head on the stable ceiling or on the doorway.

”Other people have said the horses at the stable were going nuts. The planes were flying so low. I’m so sad – he was so perfect. I’ll never be able to replace him.”

The horse died at 5pm on September 3 last year – the same time the world-famous Red Arrows flew low over the farm where Alfie was stabled.

Laura, a professional dog trainer, said Alfie had been seen alive and well shortly before the display began at 4.45pm.

She added: ”I’m absolutely distraught. I’ve never lost a horse before. I arrived at the yard just before 5.15pm. Usually, he pops his head above the stable door and whinnies, but this time he didn’t.

”I looked into the stable and he was dead. I’ve got horrible pictures of him in my mind, which is so sad when he was so perfect. I’ll never be able to replace him.

”It has been over six months since it happened and I provide them with all the information they ask for.”

A vet which examined the horse – bred for advanced dressage – said Alfie had collapsed after hitting his head and severing his spinal cord.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said the Royal Airforce Aerobatic Team tries to avoid livestock or horses.

He said: ”Aircrew do not fly over livestock or horses deliberately and will try to avoid them whenever it is safe and practicable to do so.

”Low-flying training is carried out across the UK to develop and practise the tactics and techniques necessary to ensure the delivery of the full range of airpower capabilities.”

He added: ”This is not a quick process. It is a rigorous process to make sure it is all fair.”

Last week two Red Arrow display planes collided over Crete as the RAF aerobatic team carried out their annual pre-season training.

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