A TEENAGER girl was airlifted to hospital after falling from a hourse.
Sarah Dewer, 18, had to be air-lifted to hospital with back injuries when Harvey, the horse she was riding, was spooked and jolted, throwing her to the ground at Seaton Carew.
The incident happened around an hour-and-a-half before a second horse in the group, an 11-year-old thoroughbred called Jimmy, is thought to have suffered a heart attack before collapsing on the shoreline.
Various emergency services, including the police, fire service, RNLI volunteer crews and HM Coastguard were called to the scene, close to the Sandy car park.
Eventually, a JCB was sent by Hartlepool Borough Council to lift the dead horse – which was in danger of being submerged by the rising tide – out of the waves.
Jimmy’s owner, Katie Perkins, 18, from Norton, was unhurt and had left the scene in distress following the incident at noon yesterday.
But fellow members of the group, from Wolviston Livery, stayed to watch the horse’s body being recovered.
Claire Jenkins, 37, from Hart Village, who owned Jimmy for five years before passing him on to Katie three months ago, told the Mail: “The girls were hysterical and poor Katie was absolutely distraught.”
Claire, whose parents own the livery, added: “They were just cantering on the beach when Katie said the horse felt as if he had a spasm.”
Claire, who at one point had tried to help pull Jimmy out of the water, added that Katie had been on Jimmy while leading Harvey, the grey horse that had earlier thrown Sarah to the ground.
She said she believed Sarah, from Billingham, and Harvey were going to be fine.
The horse was recovered by 3.50pm.
Hartlepool RNLI lifeboat operations manager Mike Craddy said: “The horse was in danger of being washed away by the tide.
“We were there to provide safety cover for the people who were with the horse.”