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Home Ashford News Article
A schoolgirl has described the moment she calmly stopped a runaway horse as it charged around a busy car park.
Victoria Leidig, 13, was at the Aldington point-to-point meeting with her parents and sister when one of the horses bolted into an area where families were enjoying picnics and vehicles were manoeuvring.
The nine-year-old grey gelding Nemo Spirit cut its leg badly after kicking and smashing a car window and only calmed down when the teenager approached him.
Victoria, who has been riding horses for three years and rides at Bekesbourne Stables near Canterbury, said: "There were hundreds of cars in the car park. There were children and dogs sitting on blankets.
"The horse was running between people and vehicles. There were lots of people sitting between the rows of cars.
"They were all getting up and running to the side. People were panicking.
"One car was just leaving and I think the horse thought it was going one way so tried to avoid it but the car turned and went the other way.
"The horse jumped on the car and knocked its front leg. It cut its back leg. It was bleeding a lot."
The 5ft 5in teenager added: "I walked forward and grabbed the reins. I didn't want it killing anyone.
"I could see in its eyes it was scared. The horse looked a bit calmer when I took hold of it.
"I wasn't frightened of the horse. I was scared for its safety. All the vets came running over and people were pressing towels on its wounded leg."
She added: "Then they put screens up and I don't know what happened after that.
"I don't feel like a hero. I just took hold of the horse because it looked like it was thinking about running off again."
Victoria, a pupil at Simon Langton Girls' Grammar School in Canterbury, believes jockey Joshua Pearce fell when the horse stumbled over a jump.
After completing the race ahead of the other horses on Easter Monday, it changed direction and ran back along the track before dashing into the car park.
Proud father David Leidig, speaking at the family home in The Street, Adisham, said: "I am very proud of her.
"There were hundreds of people in that car park and Victoria stopped anybody getting injured.
"The four people in the car were shaken, but no one was hurt. I heard a noise and looked up and the horse was thundering through the car park.
"It hit the car and shot up into the air then fell on its back. My daughter ran forward and took its reins."
Mr Leidig added: "She's not a very big person. The horse stopped still and she held it until some men arrived."
East Kent Hunt secretary Ian Gibson said the horse and rider were recovering well and thanked Victoria.
He said: "We had a great day of racing, but there was an incident with a runaway horse. The jockey is fine and we expect the horse to make a full recovery.
"He had a cut, which was dealt with by the vets. The horse ate well when he went home after the race.
"I would like to thank Victoria and reassure her that everyone is OK."
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