Surrey is the latest county to be hit by the recent spate of knife assaults on horses. Earlier this month a horse was attacked while turned out in field and a similar incident occurred in Warlington in July: both horses suffered serious injuries.

In the recent attack in Ockley, the horse suffered from a deep laceration on its neck, apparently inflicted by a weapon similar to a Stanley knife. The wound, which measured six inches in length and was approximately two inches deep, just missed the animal’s jugular.

Unfortunately, attacks on horses in the UK are far from rare, and recent evidence suggests that they are on the increase. While the motivations behind the attacks remain unknown, speculation is rife and the finger has been pointed at both bizarre occult practices and personal vendettas.

Other apparently unprovoked attacks on horses this year have been reported in a number of places. In April, a horse died as a result of a brutal knifing in Wales, and during July, one horse was attacked in Devon and another in Yorkshire had to be destroyed following repeated stabbings.

According to DC Jim Emeny, who is investigating the Surrey attacks, they were carried out with deliberate intent to harm. “It is clear that these acts were deliberately designed to badly hurt these horses, and I would urge all horse owners or anyone who overlooks a field with horses in to keep a close eye out for anything suspicious.”

This advice is applicable not just to horse owners in Surrey, but in all areas. While it is difficult to provide constant surveillance on one’s horse, extra protective measures can reasonably be taken. These may range from the very basic (such as increasing the number of times you check on your horse and asking neighbours to keep an eye out) to the more drastic, such as installing heavy-duty electric fencing and guard dogs.

Anyone with information on the attacks in Surrey should call Dorking Police Station (tel: 01306 676345) or Crimestoppers (tel: 0800 555 111).