THE MOTHER of a five-year-old boy who needed hospital treatment after being kicked by a horse at an agricultural show has criticised safety precautions at the event.

Ronan Downie, of West Cornforth, County Durham, was rushed to James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough, after a shire horse kicked out after being startled by a generator at Stokesley Show on Saturday.

He was left semi-conscious and needed help breathing following the accident at the event.

The youngster is still vomiting and suffering nightmares, as well as sustaining a large hoof mark on his chest. His mother, Samantha, said that the crowd were not properly protected.

Spectators stand behind a rope as the attractions walk by, but Ms Downie said: "They should have a metal fence with animals that size."

She criticised show organisers for failing to have stewards or police nearby, and said an ambulance was only called after two off-duty doctors came to Ronan's aid.

"His eyes were rolling and his lips were bleeding," said Ms Downie. "I was shouting and screaming.

"We'd seen the horse buck up further down. It stopped dead in front of us, turned and kicked out."

Ronan was given chest x-rays and morphine.

Ms Downie said: "The doctors said he was lucky - being only five, he is more flexible than most people. Next year, somebody a shade smaller could get a kick in the face."

Stokesley Show was founded in 1859 and attracted more than 18,000 visitors over the weekend, with attractions including stunts, hounds, tractors, and numerous stalls.

John Howard, one of the show's organisers, said he had telephoned the family to apologise and check on Ronan's condition.

He added: "We have very much sympathy for him and we do take all forms of accidents extremely seriously.

"The whole safety procedure on the site of the show will be addressed. This is the first incident of this kind in many, many, many years. It's a very sad and very freak accident."