Dog chases horse along road in terrifying attack

  • A horse is recovering after being chased by a dog for two miles.

    Pat Dorward was out hacking with a friend in Countesswells Wood, near Aberdeen, on 31 January when the dog appeared (not pictured).

    “We had been out for a couple of hours and we were just on our way back into the car park,” she told H&H.

    “It was quite a busy day and my friend was in front when we were heading towards the road to cross it and head back a different way, so I didn’t see the dog come towards us.”

    Her friend’s horse span around and another two loose dogs appeared around the horses’ legs, but were quickly caught by their owner.

    The horses bolted out onto the road, chased by the first dog, and Ms Dorward’s friend missed a car “by inches”.

    Despite staying on initially, the dog caught up Ms Dorward and her horse, Dhabi, causing him to take off again.

    She fell off and a passing motorist offered her a lift in his car. The pair then followed Dhabi and the dog along the country road.

    They finally caught up with the animals and Ms Dorward was able to grab her horse while members of the public took hold of the dog.

    Dhabi had bites both hind legs, but was fortunately not seriously injured, and Ms Dorward sustained a concussion in the fall.

    She has reported the attack to both the police and the British Horse Society (BHS).

    Ms Dorward told H&H that this is not the first time she has had problems with dogs around her horse while out riding.

    The forest is for everyone — bikes, walkers, dog walkers and horses — but the dog walkers need to be aware of what can happen,” she said.

    “I think people need to be responsible for their animals — a lot of it is ignorance. If I see a dog off the lead, I will stop my horse and make it clear I want them to get control of it.”

    She added she also calls to the owner, asking if their dog is safe around horses.

    Lee Hackett, from the BHS, told H&H that since their accident reporting website www.horseaccidents.org.uk was launched at the end of 2010, more than 1,000 incidents involving dogs and horses have been logged.

    “Sadly the terrifying incident experienced by Ms Dorward is not unusual,” he said.

    “There is no typical incident. The reports that we have received have identified more than 50 different breeds of dog and include horses being led, loose in the field, ridden and driven.

    “It is so important for owners to have their dog under close control when out on a walk.

    “If you have any doubt over your ability to recall your dog when necessary, then please keep it on a lead.”

    He added the BHS urges all dog owners to try and socialise their dog with horses from an early age.

    Last March, a record number of dog attacks were reported to the BHS (news, 2 April).

    Mr Hackett added they expect a higher frequency of incidents during the spring months as more people are outside with their animals.

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    “It is a common misconception that a dog attack always involves aggressive behaviour from the dog — if an out of control dog runs up to a horse in any circumstances, even in play, there can be a devastating outcome if the horse takes flight,” he said.

    “Horse owners can help protect themselves by socialising their horse with a variety of dogs, slowing to a walk to pass dogs and communicating with the dog owner at the earliest opportunity, giving a wide berth to dogs that appear nervous and, if necessary, stopping to allow a dog to be caught.”

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