By Sophie Norris
A mum has revealed terrifying footage of the moment her teenage daughter’s horse was chased by an ‘out of control’ Rottweiler for more than three minutes as she clung on in fear.
Tracy Smith, 40, and her daughter, Ella, had been out riding near their Oxford home two weeks ago [Sat 12 Aug] when a Rottweiler began hounding her daughter’s spooked stallion.
The stay-at-home mum is thankful the 14-year-old was experienced enough and fears things could have been much worse after a friend was apparently left with broken ribs after a similar incident.
Footage shows the large dog darting repeatedly after the horse, chasing it in circles and the panicked horse tries to get away – while Tracy screams at the owner ‘I’m calling the police – come and get your dog!’ at the top of her lungs.
When she confronted the owner, Tracy claims he blamed their high-vis clothing for attracting the dog and she is now calling on dog owners to be more responsible around horses.
Tracy, from Oxford, said: “This was the worst incident we have ever had but we have similar issues quite often.
“It was scary for my daughter. As soon as the dog got close, her horse was up in the air on two legs.
“She’s quite experienced so she hung on and managed to get the horse under control. It was really spooked.
“Luckily mine stood still and that’s the point when I got my phone out to record the incident.”
The two riders were out enjoying a morning hack in their local countryside when the Rottweiler ran away from its owner towards them.
She believes problems between dogs and horses stem from a lack of education among canine owners about how to stay safe near the bigger animals.
Tracy said: “The dog ran over from the other side of the field where its owner was. By this point, the man had left the field with his dog off-lead behind him.
“The Rottweiler went for my horse then Ella’s. That’s when I started recording it.
“A horse’s reaction is to flee danger and that’s what Ella’s was trying to do.
“There was nothing that could be done because we usually stop and stand to let dogs pass, but because it was at the horse’s legs, it wouldn’t stand still.
“After it’d happened, I told my daughter to stay where she was and went to go find the dog owner. I ran after him because I wanted him to know what he had done.
“He only stopped when I had caught up to him. He just replied with ‘they’re Rottweilers, that’s what they do’.
“Then he told us that this isn’t the first time the dog had done that to a horse and I said he should have put the dog on a lead as he got to the edge of the field. The owner then blamed it on our high-vis jackets.
“It seemed like he didn’t care one bit – he showed no remorse.
“These incidents happen quite often where dogs are out-of-control near the horses but this man was the worst owner I’ve seen because he didn’t attempt to get the dog on a lead.
“Afterwards the horse was a bit on edge but it’s okay now. We came across some other dogs later on and he stood as normal.”
The experienced horse owner, who has been riding for most of her life, claims others who keep horses at the nearby stables have had run-ins with the same dog owner.
One friend who was approached on another occasion by a different dog was knocked unconscious after her horse spooked and threw her off.
Tracy said: “I later found out that this man’s dogs had done to same thing to another lady who keeps her horses in the same stables as us.
“It’s a worry for horse riders when you come across dogs off-lead because you never know how they or the horses are going to behave.
“I usually shout ‘the horse will kick’ and give the owner time to put their dog on a lead while we stop and stand.
“I tried to shout to this owner but he couldn’t hear. The horse wouldn’t stop and stand.
“I have fell off the horse before when a dog came charging towards us. I was fine and just had a few bruises thankfully.
“I do know a lady who broke her ribs and was knocked unconscious after falling off her horse. It can be so dangerous – people don’t realise.
“They don’t really teach you anything about horse safety when you’re learning to drive either, so people don’t know.
“We can have up to five drivers in the space of 10 minutes who shout or beep at us when we’re on the road.”
According to advice issued by the British Horse Society for dog owners, they advise dog owners to train a reliable recall or keep them on a lead when a horse is nearby.
The charity also advises dog and horse owners to socialise their animals from a young age so they are not scared by each other.