Bystanders wept as vets put down a horse injured in an horrendous accident in the centre of Potterne on Sunday morning.

Seven-year-old Bailey had unseated his rider, Holly Perryman, 19, while she was riding him in the woods at the top of Coxhill Lane and galloped the full length of the lane before charging into traffic on the busy A360.

Bailey struck a white Mercedes estate, being driven by Carol Bidwell from Ashford, Middlesex, then somersaulted over the bonnet to hit a red Rover 214 waiting to turn left from Court Hill Road.

The driver, 48-year-old Paul House from Moyne Close, Devizes, had to be cut from his vehicle and was airlifted to Salisbury District Hospital with a suspected broken arm.

Miss Perryman, from Firs Hill Way, Potterne, finally caught up with Bailey, and, with the help of local people, held the badly injured horse down until a vet could be summoned.

Local resident Claire Thompson said: "The horse kept wanting to get up but you could see how badly injured he was.

"It took the vet 40 minutes to arrive and they had to put it to sleep. Everyone was in tears."

Mr House suffered a badly bruised arm and tore muscles in his back turning sharply away from the impact of the horse, but otherwise was uninjured.

He said he could remember little of the incident. But his passenger, Adie Wardingham, also from Devizes, said they had pulled up at the foot of Court Hill and waited for the traffic to clear before turning left towards Devizes.

He said: "I said to Paul, look at that horse. It hasn't got a rider. Then a split-second later the horse hit the car. All the windows exploded.

"Paul bore the brunt of it. If we had been slightly further over in the road, the horse would have come through the windscreen."

All the staff at Abbotts Ball Farm, where Bailey was stabled, were shocked and saddened by the accident.

The Perrymans have owned Bailey, a seven-year-old former racehorse, for the last 18 months. Miss Perryman's mother, Tina Perryman, said: "He was a very successful horse.

"He won £26,000 in prize money. We bought him for eventing and he was learning dressage. He threw Holly while they were riding in the woods.

"Holly managed to hold onto the reins but he shook her off and galloped away. I expect he was heading back to the stables.

"I was at work when Holly phoned and told me what happened. I got there at about the same time as the vets, so we were able to say goodbye to poor old Bailey.

"I don't know if we'll replace him. Feelings are still too raw at the moment. We still have a pony, Jason, so we may make do with him for the time being.

"I'm glad no one was badly hurt and I would like to thank everyone at the scene for what they did."