York & North Yorkshire

Horse rider 'forced into sea' in Filey Beach dog attack

Gemma Owens and Rocky Image copyright Empics
Image caption Gemma Owens and Rocky were on Filey Beach when the attack happened

A woman was forced to ride her horse so far into the sea the water covered her saddle to escape a dog attack on a North Yorkshire beach.

Gemma Owen, 36, was riding her horse Rocky on Filey Beach when the dog ran over and jumped up, barking, snarling and trying to grab his muzzle.

She rode into the sea to escape but it swam after them, only retreating when Rocky kicked out with his hoof.

Mrs Owens is calling for dogs to be kept on their leads near horses.

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She said: "I became particularly frightened when the dog tried to jump up off all four feet and grabbed his throat with his mouth.

"When it couldn't get there, it was jumping up and trying to get his muzzle.

"At that point, Rocky put his head in the air and began to spin round. The dog was continuously jumping up, barking, growling, snarling at him. There was a lot of intent to harm, that's what I felt."

Image copyright other
Image caption Dogs are banned from certain areas of the beach between May and September

Mrs Owen, a member of Scarborough and District Riding Club, said she stayed in the sea so the dog would have to keep swimming, and eventually Rocky launched out with his front hoof and the dog swam back to shore.

Dogs are banned from certain areas of the beach between May and September, but there are no rules about keeping them on a lead. The incident took place on 13 January.

Dog trainer Graeme Hall, from Selby, North Yorkshire, said: "I think it's about responsibility and if there is any doubt in your mind that your dog might run off, if you see a horse coming or people with another dog perhaps which you think might be nervous, pop yours back on the lead - why not?"

"The dog must have been out of its depth, but once they've got that prey-drive instinct - that they have decided they are going to go after another animal - it's really difficult."

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