A mother has said it doesn’t “bear thinking about” what could have happened after her young child escaped injury when an out-of-control dog broke loose from a garden and attacked her tiny pony.
Holly Bailey was on foot accompanying her seven-year-old daughter Elizabeth on her 11.2hh Welsh section A gelding Dollar on a lane in Hambledon, Hampshire, on 23 June when they could hear barking coming from a garden.
Holly told H&H as they passed the property an Alsatian appeared from under a hedge by the garden fence.
“We were with my friend and her little girl was on her pony in front of us. The dog veered towards us, barking viciously and baring its teeth. I went to grab Dollar but he spun away to get away from the dog,” she said.
“The dog went to bite Dollar and as he went sideways he slipped and his legs went from beneath him. He nearly went down but somehow still stayed upright with Elizabeth on top. As he scrambled to get to his feet we realised he had a tooth mark at his stifle and had grazed his legs.”
Holly said the dog went back into the garden and the owner, an elderly man, came out but did not know what to do.
“He said ‘Oh dear’ and that was it. My friend and I were in shock from what happened and didn’t want a confrontation, we just wanted to make sure the girls and ponies were ok and get them home safely,” she said.
“We walked them to a neighbour who lives about 10 minutes from us and I rang my husband James, and got Dollar checked over. We then walked him back to our yard.”
Holly sought advice from her vet regarding Dollar’s bite, and she said he is sound and physically recovering well.
“The mental scars are going to take longer to heal. Dollar has always been good with dogs, we have Labradors, but since that happened he’s been very anxious so we’re trying to slowly desensitise him. Elizabeth has been back on him, but we haven’t been out hacking again,” said Holly.
“We were at Hickstead at the weekend watching and Elizabeth heard dogs barking and instantly she was looking around and I could see from her face she was worried.”
Holly reported the incident to the police and hopes to raise more awareness among dog and horse owners about what can happen when dogs are out-of-control or have not received proper training.
“Dollar didn’t deserve this – he’s a lovely pony. I completely believe he was trying to protect Elizabeth and keep her in the saddle. If he had gone down on his side, or bolted down the road, it doesn’t bear thinking about what could have happened. It was absolutely terrifying and had started off as a lovely potter after school,” she said.
“I’ve since heard from other people in the area that similar incidents have happened with the dog escaping before, but Dollar is the first to be bitten. I hope action will be taken and if anyone experiences anything similar they report the incident.”
A Hampshire Constabulary spokesman told H&H officers have visited the dog owner’s and liaised with the local dog warden.
You might also be interested in:
“You read about these incidents and don’t think it will ever happen to you, but sadly it was us on
Riders can report any problems with a road or off-road user, slippery road surfaces, dogs, low-flying aircraft, nuisance drones or
Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits.