A mother has shared details of the “horrendous” dog attack her daughter endured while out hacking.
Thirteen-year-old Maria Williams-Taylor was riding with her 12-year-old friend, Amber, with their horses Tops and Dude.
The girls were enjoying a long hack through fields and woodland, when things suddenly took a turn for the worse.
“They heard growling and barking before Maria knew it a German Shepherd-type dog was underneath Tops,” Maria’s mother, Lisa, told Your Horse.
“It was just horrendous, the dog was attacking Tops and it just wouldn’t stop. They were then chased through the woods and onto a main road, for over a mile.
“Thank God there was not a car coming down the road as there was no where they could have gone, they would have gone over the car.”
The dog eventually disappeared and girls made it home to the yard with their horses. The vet was called to attend to Tops’ wound, which was bleeding profusely.
“Blood was spurting out from Tops’ coronet band,” said Lisa. “I’ve never seen anything like it, I thought the pony would bleed to death.
“The girls were so brave, to get through that and then to think the pony could die right in front of them.”
The 11-year-old part-bred Connemara has been on box rest since, but is hoped to make a full recovery.
Lisa says spiralling vet bills and the need to invest in new equipment to keep her daughter safe has forced her to put her foal, Ace, up for sale.
“Maria is heartbroken, but we have to be realistic,” she said. “If something then happens to him we couldn’t afford the vet bills, we can’t afford the stress and pressure of it.”
Both girls were shaken by the ordeal.
“Maria has been having nightmares of a dog chasing her with blood in its mouth,” said Lisa. “The mental affect is truly devastating.”
Police are investigating the incident, which took place near Barnstaple on 7 November.
“They suggested we invest in a head camera and dog Mace spray (repellent),” said Lisa.
“Maria just won’t feel safe without it now, and I’m urging others to do the same, and wear a body protector. We’ll also be getting a bum bag so she can safely carry her phone and the spray.”
Police have issued an appeal for witnesses to the incident in Snapper Woods, near Shirwell.
“If you witnessed the incident, have any information or CCTV footage that could help the police with their enquiries, please email email@example.com or call 101, quoting crime reference CR/097298/21,” said a Devon Police spokesman. “Alternatively, information can be passed anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.”