Stable lads from Manton have received counselling after their horsebox was involved in a horrific motorway crash in which two people and a horse died.

The horsebox from Brian Meehan’s yard was badly damaged in the crash on the M11 on Thursday afternoon as it travelled to an evening meeting at Newmarket.

Mr Meehan, who has trained on the Sangster-owned estate since 2006, said: “The whole thing has been a terrible shock to our yard and it will take a while for people to fully recover. Our Paint Pony Pistolero died on Thursday evening at the Newmarket Equine Hospital.

“Although he was called a Paint Pony that is actually a breed of horse in America he was actually 16.2 hh horse that had been with us for eight years.

"He was used to settle our race horses both at home and on the course. He was a great character.

“He was Western-trained and was a treat to ride and children, in particular, used to love him. He was, without doubt, one of our stable stars, and we shall all miss him greatly.”

“The staff on board the box were traumatised and in a state of shock after the accident.

"It was an horrific incident on the motorway and we would like to send our sincerest condolences to the families of the people who lost their lives.They are foremost in our thoughts.”

His four male stable lads and the horsebox driver have now received counselling from experts from Racing Welfare and are back at work.

Four race horses trained by Mr Meehan plus Pistolero were on board the horsebox when the collison involving it, three cars and a lorry happened.

The horsebox was in front of the vehicles involved and was hit from behind by one of the cars that was catapulted into the back of it and caught fire.

A horsebox owned by Roger Charlton, who trains at Beckhampton, was nearby on the motorway and it was one of a number that stopped to help.

He said: “Our box was diverted up the hard shoulder to pick up three of the distressed Brain Meeham horses and eventually transport them to the vets in Newmarket.

”Luckily lads and lasses are very professional people and are able to act under very difficult situations. These things are very traumatic but they all did very well. They have not needed any counselling.”

One of Mr Meehan’s racehorses, The Doo Run Run, was badly injured in the accident and is expected to remain in the vetinary centre in Newmarket for some time being treated for a fractured skull and fractured pelvis.

The horse is owned by Wiltshire horse breeder and chief executive of the Country Gentleman’s Association William Harrison-Allen, who lives at Baycliffe Farm, Maiden Bradley, near Warminster.

Mr Harison-Allen said: “The Doo Run Run was in the back of the horsebox with Pistolero as the he liked the pony to travel with him. They were trapped when the car went into the box and possibly did most of the damage to themselves as they were so frightened by the fire.

“It is very doubtful that The Doo Run Run will ever be able to race again with those sort of injuries.”

Mr Meehan said that he was just about to set out for Newmarket from Manton when he got a call about the crash.

The M11 was closed for several hours after the collision just before 2.15pm last Thursday.

Essex Police said two people from one car died and two people from another car were taken to hospital. An air ambulance, a number of other paramedic units and five fire crews were sent to the scene.