Published: 17:45, 20 February 2017 |
Updated: 10:25, 21 February 2017
Police were called as masked hunt saboteurs approached two female riders leaving them frightened.
Ashford Valley Tickham Hunt claims two of its members, one an 11-year-old girl riding her pony, alongside a 22-year-old, were shouted at by the saboteurs who were dressed in black and wearing scarves to cover their faces.
The incident happened at Hole Park, Rolvenden, on Saturday and has been reported to police.
The two were riding home after leaving the main group and hunt spokesman Charlotte Baines said: "The saboteurs shouted abuse at the girls and followed them into the road.
"If masked people wearing military-style clothes approached anyone in the High Street then police would immediately descend."
But the East Kent Hunt Saboteurs Association strongly denies intimidating the riders and claims they were protecting them as they didn't have reflective clothing and they reported their concerns to police. The group's statement said: "We witnessed a lady and child on horseback riding away from the meet.
"As [they] got to the bottom of the hill and near a sharp bend, we could see cars were struggling to see [them]. At this time, it was nearly dark, and we thought this was very dangerous, so offered to "chaperone" them back to their vehicles by following behind at a safe distance, as we were concerned for the safety of both riders and horses.
"The rider we spoke to though was very rude to us, and refused our help."
The hunt, involving around 50 horses and 33 hounds, took place on land owned by Edward Barham who described the group as being "foul-mouthed and balaclava-clad" wearing black jackets and military-style fatigues.
He said: "I'm not a hunting-man myself but this was a perfectly legal hunt that involved the laying of a scent trail.
"I accept the right to protest but the whole presence of the group felt extremely threatening and they had the cameras rolling at people all the time."
One female spectator, who wished to remain anonymous said the presence of the group had been unsettling. "It ruined the day for us - they were a hindrance. The police ended up coming just to make sure there was no confrontation.
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