*Warning: graphic images*

A former dressage horse who became trapped between two trees and suffered horrific injuries to his head and leg was named a finalist in the Petplan Survivor Pet of the Year award.

Monster, who was campaigned up to advanced medium level and was nominated by his owner of nine years, Cecilia Dean, was turned out in the field when the freak accident occurred.

“I had turned him out and gone to work,” said Cecilia. “My friend asked if I wanted to go for a hack that afternoon, and I was on my way back to bring him in when she said Monster had managed to get stuck between two trees.

“I didn’t think too much of it as I thought she meant just a branch, so when I got to him I was shocked.”

Monster had panicked and thrashed around in an effort to free himself, smacking his head repeatedly on a stony patch of ground.

“We found him with his leg wedged in the tree. I called the vet, who wanted to get the fire brigade in, but a local farmer came with his chainsaw and chopped the tree down.”

Monster’s leg wound is pictured a few weeks into his recovery. Photo: Cecilia Dean

‘I expected the worst’

Once released from the tree, Monster still refused to move. A tractor was summoned to drag him out, but the prognosis did not look good.

“I went to see my other horse, as no one wanted me to watch my beloved boy being dragged,” added Cecilia. “I was on the phone to my sister crying when I heard footfalls coming my way. I was sure they were coming to tell me the worst, but it was my friend leading Monster. He had been roused by the tractor noise and got up.”

Monster had fractured his skull and the severity of his leg wound meant you could see bone.

“I can’t even begin to describe how it felt to see him walk back onto the yard after seeing him lying there,” said Cecilia. “It has been a tough three years, with Monster requiring various injections and courses of antibiotics, but he has been so stoic and the best patient.

Monster’s eye and skull were injured. Photo: Cecilia Dean

“At one point I had to scrub the wound on his leg with a toothbrush, as the dead skin started causing problems. I feel he is finally back to his usual, cheeky self.

“He will never be back to where he was, but he’s alive. I took him for a hack recently and he loved it.”

There were two further equine finalists.

Laura Brown’s Yolo was nominated as Petplan Rescue Pet of the Year, while Susan Stewardson nominated her native pony for Petplan Companion Pet of the Year.

Retired police horse Finsbury, whose lengthy career involved violent gang fights and the 2011 riots, was crowned the overall Petplan Hero Pet of the Year.

You can find out more about the Petplan awards here.