A huntsman has been left with two fractured teeth and concussion following a clash between hunt saboteurs and members of the Tedworth Hunt on Saturday (24 January).
Joint-master and huntsman Mike Lane (not pictured), who suffered severe concussion, claims he was kicked in the head by saboteurs when hounds were boxing up at the end of the day near Everley in Wiltshire.
There were reportedly around six hunt saboteurs present at the time of the incident. Anti-hunt protestors wearing balaclavas and face masks, in two vehicles that have been reported to be associated with Bristol and Southampton hunt saboteur groups, had been present all day. One saboteur allegedly spat at Mr Lane and it is reported that they had attempted to pull him from his horse earlier in the day when the huntsman requested that the saboteurs refrained from spraying the hounds with an unknown liquid substance.
During the incident, where hunt supporters requested the saboteurs leave the property because hounds were going home, Mr Lane slipped over and was kicked while laying on the ground. He was knocked unconscious and an ambulance was called. He was treated at a local hospital.
“We were legally trail-hunting and the saboteurs had been following us all day,” a hunt spokesman said.
“At the end of the day, there was an incident where our huntsman fell to the ground and was kicked in the head and as a result he is suffering from concussion and will be unable to hunt hounds this week.
“We believe they were carrying metal bars attached to ropes and chains.”
A passing member of the public with no connection to the hunt is understood to have recorded the incident on a mobile phone camera and a police investigation is ongoing.
The hunt regularly experiences attention from anti-hunt protestors, however, the spokesman for the hunt added: “There was a definite feeling of an increased level of hostility towards us and the behaviour was more threatening than usual. We hope the police will be able to find those responsible for this injury.”