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The RSPCA has launched an investigation after footage emerged on social media showing a horse being hit with a plastic pole and then crashing into a gate as it attempts to get away.
The graphic video is believed to have been filmed at Saddington Riding School and Livery, in Saddington, Leicestershire.
It shows the horse being hit and poked on its rear end by a woman wielding a red and white pole, the sort that is used across a jumping fence, while a rider is sat on its back.
After being hit on the back, the horse backs itself into a corner. The woman then moves some steps out of the way and bends down to pick something up from the ground and appears to throw it at the horse, which makes an audible sound and causes the animal to flinch.
She then picks up the pole for a second time and lashes out at the horse before the animal backs away. Someone shouts ‘Move forward!’ as the animal skips sideways and its hind quarters collide with a metal gate.
After the video was widely circulated on social media, Saddington Riding School and Livery posted a robust defence claiming that it was better to hit the horse with a pole than a whip.
The post revealed that the horse is called Echo who is prone to ‘napping’ which means that it was refusing to move forward.
The post is signed off by Emma Tate and states: ‘I could have got a lunge whip and used that on her like someone suggested, but I chose not to as I’m not a whip fan, I find these harsh and I wouldn’t like to have a whip whacked against my backside, so instead I waved a hollow plastic pole behind her to try and make her go forward.
‘When this didn’t work, I did POKE her with it on her backside to encourage her to move forward. I can’t get my head around how this would be classed as abuse but a sting from a whip would be okay!? Don’t forget where the video is angled…’
The video filmed in Saddington, Leicestershire, shows the horse being hit and poked on its rear end with a red and white pole
The post adds: ‘After she went over the mounting block, you can clearly see I pulled the block out of the way to stop her hurting herself on it. She then went backwards again so I threw sand at her rear end to get her to go forwards which unfortunately didn’t work, so the plastic hollow pole came out again to encourage her to go forward.’
Continuing to defend the horse being hit, the post adds: ‘People might say why a pole? Well… firstly a prod with a hollow plastic pole isn’t going to sting like a whip and to be honest, the mood she was in I didn’t want to get close to her back legs, so for my safety as well as Echo’s and the rider’s, I thought a pole would be better so that she could see it and it would also maintain distance whilst trying to encourage her to go forward.
After she got her backside wedged in the gateway, I thought leading her away is my safest option as if she tried to strike out with her front legs, I was in a better position to move out of the way, so I continued to lead her.’
After being hit by the pole, the sort that is used across a jumping fence, the horse backs itself into a corner
The video prompted a social media storm as people vented their angry. One fumed: ‘I’m livid. Poor horse.’
Another added: ‘Saddington riding school you should be ashamed of yourselves. If only the horse could do back to you what you did to it.’
Others took to social media to defend the woman with one stating: ‘Emma would never hurt or abuse a horse or any animal for that matter. This horse was nappy, the plastic pole was waved at the horse to get it to go forward and that was for the safety of the horse and the rider. She never used a whip on the horse.’
Another added: ‘I seen a lot worse! Nothing worse than a stubborn young horse knowing you have tried everything to encourage x.’
A spokesman for the RSPCA said: ‘This footage is upsetting, and we are looking into it and would urge anyone with first-hand information about this incident to contact us on 0300 123 4999.’
Source: Daily Mail