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A top eventing rider has spoken of his devastation after four horses were killed in a road accident when a lorry crashed into their broken-down truck.

Nick Gauntlett was en route to the Land Rover Blair Castle International Horse Trials in Pitlochry, Perthshire when the accident happened on Tuesday night.

After the truck stalled on the A9 – just 30 minutes from Blair Castle – all team members exited the vehicle while the horses stayed inside.

While waiting for the salvage service, Mr Gauntlett and his team watched as a truck ran into the side of their truck.

His horse, Party Trick, died along with three animals owned by American-born eventer Sophie Hulme.

Scottish Police are investigating the circumstances of the crash and said two people were taken to hospital for treatment.

Mr Gauntlett, an international eventer and trainer, lives in Chipping Sodbury, South Gloucestershire.

He wrote on Facebook: “My amazing family is okay and that’s definitely the main thing.

“We lost Party Trick. After collapsing just 30 minutes from the Land Rover Blair Castle International Horse Trials, we sat on the grass verge and watched a truck crash into our truck.

“You don’t need the details, but we lost all four horses on board. We are all obviously heartbroken.”

Ms Hulme, from Gloucestershire, who has already been to Blair Castle, said: “I am so absolutely devastated and speechless.

“Three of my dear horses, my precious babies, are gone. Taken from this world far too soon.

“My beautiful Charisma and Feyre are gone and so is my beautiful Fintan. I’m so sorry for Nick and Amanda and for their loss. The world can be such a cruel place.

“My world is completely upside down right now.

“Thank you to everyone who has messaged and reached out to me. I’m slowly working my way through all the messages.

“It’s going to be tough for a while and it’s going to be tough, but the best we can do is keep going.

“Everyone please give your horses an extra hug and kiss from me as you never know what might happen.”

In a statement, Land Rover Blair Castle International Horse Trials said: “Both British Eventing and the organizers of the Land Rover Blair Castle International Horse Trials are speaking to Nick, his wife and children, Sophie Hulme, Nick’s team, the owners and the grooms of the Horses and everyone associated with them.

“Nick lost Party Trick while Sophie Hulme lost three horses. heartbreaking.

“Eventing is a family and we will do what we can support. We are grateful that no one in Nick’s truck was injured in the accident.”

A Police Scotland spokesman said: “At around 2.45pm on August 24, officers were called to a report of a road traffic accident involving two lorries on the A9 at Cairnie Braes, near Perth.

“Police, fire and ambulance were present and two men from one of the lorries were taken to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.

“One of the trucks had four horses loaded. We can confirm that two of the horses died and two had to be euthanized by vets.

“The road was closed until about 9:30 p.m. Investigations into the circumstances of the crash are ongoing.”

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