The rider of a mare who was attacked by a dog for the second time in a year said it was only the horse’s well-aimed kick that ended her ordeal.
Julie Salmon was hacking her 20-year-old mare Puzzle on a track in Dorset on Friday (29 May) when the German shepherd-type dog appeared.
“It just flew out of the woods,” Julie told H&H. “Molly, my 18-month-old Labrador, was with me – it was lucky she wasn’t attacked too – and it was her who saw the dog first. The owner appeared, saw what was happening and just went to walk off.”
In video captured by Julie’s body camera, she can be heard asking the woman to call the dog off, to no avail. It was jumping up and biting at Puzzle’s hind legs, causing wounds that needed veterinary treatment.
Some strong language in video
“The woman didn’t call the dog; she made a half-hearted attempt to catch it. I rode over to a cyclist, saying ‘please help me, the dog’s attacking my horse’, and then Puzzle kicked it.
“I think she was as angry as I was and waited for her moment; one back leg came out so fast, and it was only then the dog went back to its owner, with its tail between its legs.”
Julie said she bought the camera last year, after Puzzle was attacked by another dog, who she thinks belongs to the same person, in the same area last June.
“I paid £186 for the camera but it’s been worth every penny,” she said, adding that she reported the incident to police and the British Horse Society and that the cyclist and another dog walker have agreed to act as witnesses.
“Fortunately, Puzzle’s ok,” Julie said. “Last year, she was bitten on the hock joint and the vet said if it has been in the joint capsule, that would have been it.
“I’m disabled – I’ve got two artificial knees, my lower spine’s fused; I’ve got spinal stenosis and osteoarthritis and my spinal surgeon said it’s only my core strength from riding that’s kept me out of a wheelchair – but if I’d fallen off, it could have meant I would be in one.
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“What’s so worrying is that my three-year-old granddaughter was riding Puzzle, being led by her parents, in that area at the same time the day before, and there’s a riding school at my livery yard that takes riders out there – can you imagine if the dog had attacked a beginner or novice rider? But the dogs’ owner takes no responsibility for what happens.”
A Dorset Police spokesman told H&H: “Dorset Police received a report at 9.45am on Friday 29 May that a horse had been attacked by a dog in the area of the Castleman Trailway in West Moors.
“Officers have contacted the woman who reported the incident and further enquiries are ongoing to establish if it will be the subject or a police investigation or if the matter will be referred to the dog warden.”
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