Home   Medway   News   Article

Shocking footage shows moment Gillingham horse rider attacked by dog at Riverside Country Park in Medway

A horse rider has spoken out about the “traumatic” moment a dog attacked her pony.

Shannon Edwards, her two children, and her friend were hacking on a marked bridle path when a dog, off-lead, rushed at her and began biting and scratching her gelding, Jet.

The 27-year-old, from Gillingham, had gone on the ride with her two children on Tuesday, June 18, at Riverside Country Park.

It was seven-year-old Alfie’s first ride.

She said: “He’d just gained the confidence to come out on a hack with me on his Shetland pony, Pepper.

“We always go to Riverside Country Park for our hacks as the horses are stabled nearby along Grange Road.

“There are special bridle paths and there are signs that tell dog walkers to keep dogs on leads when pedestrians and horses are passing through.

“The first time we saw the man and his dog he had his animal on the lead and she was being very reactive to the horses.

“He even said that his dog hadn’t seen horses before. We passed without a problem but about 30 seconds later I could hear him calling and shouting for his dog.”

Shannon and her pony, Jet, being attatcked by a dog at Riverside Country Park in Gillingam. Picture: Shannon Edwards
Shannon and her pony, Jet, being attatcked by a dog at Riverside Country Park in Gillingam. Picture: Shannon Edwards

It was at this point the horserider of 22 years knew the man had let his dog off the lead.

The mum-of-two recalled: “I could hear him calling louder and louder and because of the type of breed the dog was I could hear its breathing getting louder and louder as it was coming for us.

“My son was at the back of the group where the dog was coming from so I told him to go forward and put myself at the back.

“As soon as the dog appeared I just thought ‘this is going to be really bad’.”

Shannon explained that Jet, who she competes at Kent County Competitions in the showjumping category, is a nervous pony who can get spooked easily.

Jet, Shannon's pony. Picture: Shannon Edwards
Jet, Shannon's pony. Picture: Shannon Edwards

She continued: “My son was really scared, I told him to get off Pepper while I was still dealing with the dog jumping up at Jet.

“My shouting and panic started to make Alfie sob and cry. He’s only seven.

“I was trying to keep Jet calm, he doesn’t love dogs but we have dogs of our own at the stable and he sees them at competitions so he can deal with them.

“But now, after the attack, he is traumatised and may react to them in the future.”

Footage of the incident, which was recorded by Shannon’s friend, 34-year-old Charley who was riding her own mare, Ember, shows the dog jumping up at Jet who is rearing.

Teeth marks from the dog left in Jet's fur on his neck. Picture: Shannon Edwards
Teeth marks from the dog left in Jet's fur on his neck. Picture: Shannon Edwards

The dog can be seen jumping up at the pony and nipping at its body and legs as its owner attempts to put it back on its lead, narrowly missing kicks from Jet.

Luckily the dog didn’t draw blood from Jet but the pony was left with teeth marks and scratches on its coat.

Shannon added: “If you see a horse or pony and have a dog with you put them on the lead, especially if children are riding.

“This incident could have been so much worse but it has still really traumatised Alfie and his older sister, Bonnie.

“Alfie didn’t have a lot of confidence anyway and this attack has completely stripped any he had.

“It is now hard for him to accept that his pony is safe, he doesn’t want to ride any more.

“Jet is my pride and joy. I put everything into that pony and while the attack was happening all I could think of was that horse that was attacked in London.”

Last year a man was convicted after his dog attacked a Metropolitan Police horse in Victoria Park, east London. The horse suffered several wounds and took months to recover.

Shannon continued: “I had a panic attack. All that was rushing through my head at the time was ‘what if I have to call the vets, what if Jet is seriously injured’, it was awful.

“I’m lucky Jet has come away with a few scrapes and no cuts but my son is absolutely traumatised and it has broken my heart.”

Shannon competing on Jet. Picture: Shannon Edwards
Shannon competing on Jet. Picture: Shannon Edwards

Shannon, who is a director for her husband’s plumbing and heating business, said she had never experienced anything like this in all the years she’d been riding at the country park.

A spokesperson for the police said: “We were called to a report that a dog that was not on a lead, had attacked a horse being ridden at the Riverside Country Park.

“Officers attended the scene and spoke to the victim and the person responsible for the dog.”

An investigation is underway into the incident and officers are appealing for any witnesses to contact them on 01634 792209, quoting reference 46/100575/24.

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More