A dog owner ignored riders’ pleas for help as her two collies circled and snapped at them — even after one horse was badly kicked by the other.
Catriona McCartney-Kitson and her friend Neve were riding Ricky and Zula on the bridlepath at Blaise Castle Estate, Bristol, on 11 April when the two dogs came at “full pelt” towards them.
Catriona told H&H she and Neve called out to ask who the dogs belonged to but there was no owner in sight.
“The dogs came flying from the other end of the estate and started jumping up at the horses. They were barking and snapping at their faces and legs, and started circling them like they were trying to herd them,” said.
“Ricky and Zula behaved impeccably, we could tell they were upset but they stood and remained calm. Eventually the owner appeared and I realised it was someone we’ve had similar encounters with before.”
Catriona asked the owner to put her dogs on the lead but she refused.
“She said ‘why should I? They’re only playing’ and then shouted at us that we shouldn’t have been there, even though it was a bridlepath,”
“We decided to try to walk away but as we did one of the dogs went for Zula’s back legs. He kicked out and caught Ricky square in the middle of his leg. I could feel Ricky freeze beneath me and he didn’t want to move. He had blood pouring down his leg”.
“The woman saw what happened but kept repeating that we shouldn’t have been there then walked off. She couldn’t have cared less.”
Catriona and Neve returned to the yard with Ricky and Zula and called the vet.
“He wasn’t lame and thankfully he had no bone or muscle damage but he needed stitches for a big wound just above his knee. He is on box rest for 10 days and has a huge bandage on. One of the things I’m most upset about is this could all have been avoided; Ricky is a four-year-old who wants to be out so not only is he injured, I’m worried about his mental welfare on box rest and don’t want him being stressed,” she said.
“The vet was back on Friday (16 April) and he seems to be doing well which is reassuring but until he is completely back to normal I’ll worry about it healing ok. The vet will return to take the stitches out then he will get to go in the field.”
“You read about these incidents and don’t think it will ever happen to you, but sadly it was us on
“A lack of education around the Countryside Code has left some visitors without a basic understanding of what is acceptable
Catriona, who hopes to compete in para dressage with Ricky in the future, is planning to report the dog owner after someone contacted her on social media with the owner’s details.
“People have said they’ve had similar issues with her too,” said Catriona. “I just hope Ricky isn’t going to be traumatised by this going forward, I’ve loved that he’s super around dogs but now is he going to be scared?
“People need to understand the importance of controlling their dogs; I understand things can happen and some people are very apologetic but others can be so begrudging if you ask them to put their dogs on a lead. Some non-horsey people seem to think ‘what’s the worst that could happen?’ but these are the kind of consequences.”
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