Somehow the 23 horses from equestrian centre in the village of Brognard managed to escape from a field in which they had been grazing and headed off towards the A36.
As the regional daily L'Est républicain reports
, once the cavalcade hit the motorway between the towns of Montbéliard and Belfort, the horses panicked, breaking up into smaller groups and galloping off in different directions.
Police, firefighters and workers on a nearby high-speed railway line joined forces to take matters in hand, reports the paper, but it still took a couple of hours for all the horses to be rounded up before the traffic could return to normal.
(You can see some more photos of the rescue
on the newspaper's site)
The only wounds the horses sustained apparently were to a couple of cuts that needed stitches and one horse which required a sedative after finding itself trapped between the motorway's security barriers.
The whole incident could have had a far unhappier ending as a spokesman for the equestrian centre said
when contacted by the French website Le Post
There had been 38 horses in total in the field but 15 of them had stayed put.
"The other 23 are now back in their boxes and are under observation," the spokesperson told the website.
"Fortunately no person was injured during the breakout and there wasn't a pile up on the motorway."