A MOTHER has told of the terrifying moment her car hit a horse as she took her children to school.

The bonnet of Carolyn Mason’s Peugeot 308 was ripped off and the windscreen was shattered by the impact of the crash.

The collision happened yesterday at 7.50am on Copeland Road, between West Auckland and Evenwood, near Bishop Auckland.

Ms Mason, was taking her daughter, Lily, who is eight, to Ramshaw Primary School and was then due to drop her son, Daniel, 14, off at Bishop Barrington School, where she works in the kitchen.

She said: “I just set out as normal to do the school run and then our Daniel said, ‘oh look there is a white horse at the side of the road.’

“So I slowed down, and then ‘bang’, another horse had come out of nowhere.

“I looked in the rear view mirror and it had gone right over the top of the car.”

No one was injured but the family were left very shaken and traumatised by what had happened.

Ms Mason, who lives with her partner, Jon, said: “The little one was traumatised.

“She was screaming. She actually said ‘Mam, do I have to go to school in the dark in the morning? It has obviously frightened her.

“It was terrifying. I have never experienced anything like that.”

The impact of the crash left the horse with fatal injuries.

Ms Mason said: “I feel awful about that because I am an animal lover.”

Ms Mason is now urging people who own horses to make sure they can not get out on to the roads.

She said: “There are always horses out around there. They are just tethered up by the side of the road and dumped in fields to graze.

“It is not the animals’ fault. It is the owners who have just left them. I hope the horse owners take notice because next time it could be more serious.

“Many times people have commented on Facebook that there are horses loose on Copeland Road.

“I think the car will be a write-off. The front bonnet is gone, there is a dent in the roof and the windscreen is smashed.

“We are all fine, no scratches or scrapes, but we are badly shaken.

“It could have been a lot worse.”

Police attended to make the road safe for other motorists.

A spokesperson for Durham Constabulary said: “We were called to reports of a collision between a car and a horse at 7.50am on December 10.

“The incident involved a Peugeot car which collided with the animal in Copeland Road, West Auckland.

“The occupants of the car were uninjured but sadly the horse died at the scene.”