Rider chased by dogs suffers ‘shocking’ injuries falling from horse

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Hayley Williams suffered bad injuries after falling from her horse being chased by dogs at Sopley Common

THIS is the shocking picture of an experienced rider thrown from her horse after it was chased by two large dogs on Sopley Common.

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Hayley Williams suffered a dislocated fracture of her collarbone, requiring a lengthy operation at Poole hospital, and was in so much pain medics had to give her ketamine and morphine.

The 29-year-old now faces a year of recuperation from her injuries and time off her job helping children with physical disabilities because of the incident on a nature reserve where dogs must be kept on leads.

Her mother, Katrina West, has called on dog owners to be more responsible and have better control over their animals.

“I sat in the hospital with my daughter in so much pain and knowing she has got dreadful injuries through someone being irresponsible with their dog,” she told the A&T.

“I have been riding all my life – I’m in my 60s – and I have never had an experience like that. It was just awful. It’s an increasing problem from what I have read, unfortunately, and a big problem.”

Katrina said she wanted to track down the owner and has suggested offenders in such incidents should pay victims compensation.

“If you are in a traffic accident and cause an injury you have a responsibility. There is nothing for this young girl and she is now in physical and mental pain and has a long road ahead of her,” she added.

As reported in the A&T, the past few months have seen a spate of incidents locally in which dogs have targeted livestock.

In June last year, a two-day-old foal had to be given round-the-clock care to save its life after it was viciously savaged by a dog. A month later a herd of cows were reportedly slaughtered after attacking and injuring a dog walker, and killing his pet.

Last October the Commoners’ Defence Association (CDA) wrote to more than 200 people who owned cattle on the Forest and advised them to de-horn their livestock

The CDA and police have released posters telling dog owners their pets must give cows, horses and pigs “lots of space”, avoid getting in between animals and witnesses of “livestock worrying” should phone the police.

Owners can be prosecuted under the Protection of Livestock Act 1953, an offence for which they could be fined and ordered to pay compensation, and dogs can also be seized.

Katrina and Hayley, who live in Sopley, were out for a hack on their cob-cross horses on Wednesday morning last week when the incident happened.

Both horses were trotting when the riders spotted a man  walking what appeared to be two Bernese mountain dogs, Katrina explained.

“My daughter turned to me and said ‘they’re going to chase us’ and they were coming nearer,” Katrina said.

The pair made off but the dogs followed, and Hayley and Katrina took different tracks in a bid to get away. A short time later Hayley’s horse ran past Katrina without a rider.

Panicking, Katrina managed to get their two horses together and she phoned for an ambulance. When she finally got through to her daughter, it emerged the dog walker was already driving her to hospital.

Hayley was taken to Bournemouth’s A&E and signed in by the dog walker, who then left her. She was seen by medics, transferred to Poole hospital and underwent an operation on Friday last week.

She remains there recovering but hopes to be discharged this weekend.

Katrina, a retired bookkeeper, said the effects on her daughter will be substantial. “She won’t be able to work and she and her husband have just bought a house, too, plus you don’t know how her body will recover and adapt.

“You also don’t know what effect it will have on her in terms of riding later on in life. This is a beautiful hobby that we share and we have an amazing time together and had so much planned together,” she added.

She has reported the incident to Dorset Police and wants to trace the dog walker. Katrina said although he took her daughter to hospital “the man’s responsibility was to have his two dogs under control”.

“Hayley was so cross with him and upset and in a great deal of pain, and I did not know what had happened to her. He took her to hospital and he then checked her in but she did not want him there with her and he left,” she went on.

“The majority of owners are pretty good – often they have recall control over their animals so if we see a dog off a lead when we hack, the dogs go to them and it’s all nice and polite, but on this occasion he had no control. And in that area you really should have dogs on a lead.”

Katrina, who owns dogs herself, said she was sharing the image of Hayley in hospital with the A&T in a bid to raise awareness of the harm animals bothering livestock can cause.

“These were big fluffy dogs, but nonetheless any dogs not on leads and bothering animals can do this. People need to be aware and they need to be able to control their dogs.”

A spokesman for Dorset Police said: “Enquiries into the incident are ongoing.”

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