A mustang died after it broke away from handlers and tripped on its rope during filming of the remake of the 1943 movie classic "My Friend Flicka (search)."

Filming was temporarily shut down after Monday's incident, said Capt. Karen Knipscheer, a spokeswoman for the Animal Services Department (search), which issues animal-use permits to the film industry.

Witnesses said several horses escaped from their handlers at the Hansen Dam Equestrian Center.

"One horse, pursued by guys on horseback, spooking the hell out of him, tripped on his rope and went down. The other horse kicked him in the head, that's what it looked like to me," said Roland Vincent, 59, who was hoping to be used as a cowboy extra.

According to 20th Century Fox, the American Humane Society (search) had been on the set throughout filming. The studio said the horse that died was "a domestic rodeo horse." No wild horses were used on the set, the studio added.

"We are terribly saddened by the events that occurred yesterday on the set of the feature film Flicka. The production has taken every possible precaution and safety measure in shooting scenes where horses are involved," a statement released by the studio Tuesday said.

Animal Services Officer Julie Bastin called the horse's death a "sheer accident."

The film stars country music star Tim McGraw and is scheduled for release in February.

FOXNews.com and 20th Century Fox are owned by the same parent company.