A MAN was kicked to death by a horse after it panicked in a trailer.

Peter McGuire, aged 51, from Middleton, pulled into a lay-by off the A56 Edenfield bypass to tend to the “spooked” horse.

Police say he then suffered a kick to the head and died at the scene.

He was on his way to a show jumping competition when the animal became agitated and he went into the trailer to calm the horse down.

His wife Marie tried to help and was attacked, suffering a fractured leg and chest injuries.

Daughter Zoe, who was with them, was shocked but uninjured.

In a statement, Mr McGuire’s family said: “Peter was a loving husband, father and son.

“He was an active member of Bolton and District Riding Club with horse riding being a family hobby for the past eight years.”

Club chairman Mr Geoff Dennis said members had been left shocked, adding: “Peter was on the committee and he was an all-round good person. He was very obliging and would do anything for anyone.

“Peter was extremely knowledgeable about horses and this was a tragic rare accident. He will be sadly missed.”

A police spokeswoman said officers had been alerted to the incident just before 6pm on Wednesday last week.

She said: “The man was found to be unconscious with a serious head injury trapped in the rear of the vehicle together with the horse.

“The horse had become agitated and had dislodged the enclosure in the rear compartment which restricts movement and supports the horse during transportation.

“When the man entered the horse compartment the horse kicked him causing fatal injuries.”

Ady Tonge, watch manager at Ramsbottom Fire Station, said: “We received a message that a man was trapped under his horse on the bypass.

“Paramedics couldn’t get a response from the man and the inside of the horsebox had been trashed by the animal.

“His wife was injured at the scene as well.

“Once the vet had arrived, they sedated the horse and recovered the man from the vehicle.

“The horse was uninjured but was trapped inside the box because of the damage it had caused.”

Mrs McGuire and her daughter were taken to Royal Blackburn Hospital for treatment.

The animal is a Welsh Section D bay horse, measuring 15.1 hands and weighing approximately 550 kilos, is believed to be over 10 years old.

Vet Nick Johnson, from Stanley House veterinary practice in Colne, was called to the scene and had to wear protective equipment to enable him to sedate the horse.