Two horses’ dash to freedom ended tragically when they were struck by motorists Tuesday night in rural Stearns County. One suffered a broken leg and had to be put down, the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office said.

Deputies were called to the area of County Road 9 and 165th Street in Eden Lake Township just after 9 p.m. on a report of horses on the loose. Before they could be corralled, one had been hit by a car driven by a 65-year-old woman from Richmond, Minn. and the second by a 16-year-old boy from Watkins.

The teen hit the 2-year-old horse near the Eden Lake public access. The horse suffered a broken leg and its owners had it put down, said Lt. Robert Dickhaus of the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office.

The teen was not hurt, Dickhaus said.

Moments earlier, another of the horses was struck near the intersection of County Roads 9 and 21. A veterinarian examined the horse and deemed that it will recover. The driver was not injured, Dickhaus said.

Car vs. horse crashes are rare. “It doesn’t happen very often,” Dickhaus said. “It’s hard enough to see a deer. Horses are a dark color on the road. They are such majestic animals. It’s sad.”

The horses’ owners told deputies that the animals got out through an unsecured gate.