A rider whose horse is lame after an attack by two dogs on Epsom Downs is calling for irresponsible dog owners to be brought to heel.

Felicity Evans' horse reared and bucked as he tried to get away from the dogs and she was almost thrown from her mount under his hooves.

Miss Evans, 27, who was unhurt in the attack, says that it is the third dog incident involving her horse in three weeks on the Downs and the situation is getting worse week by week.

A rider could easily be killed or injured and a horse end up with fatal injuries if it bolts onto a road in front of a vehicle after a dog attack, she said.

The last incident happened as Felicity Evans was riding her 10 year old horse Ryan across the Downs on Sunday (April 27).

Two Jack Russell dogs chased her and got underneath Ryan while their owner made no attempt to control them.

She said: “By this time he (Ryan) was incredibly scared and rearing and spinning to try and rid these dogs from snapping and barking at his heels.

"It was miraculous that I didn’t fall off and suffer injury.

"My horse is now lame due to a puncture wound to his hind leg that was obviously caused by the dog’s teeth.

”I am now left with an injured, frightened horse that has developed a fear of dogs.

”This guy did absolutely nothing to stop his dogs while he watched me rodeo for about five minutes.

“I am not against dogs - I have a dog myself but if I am not sure how he will behave he is put on the lead.

“Eight out of ten dog owners are absolutely fine but I have been very unlucky recently and met people who just don’t seem to care what happens.”

Miss Evans who comes from Stanley Road, Sutton, keeps Ryan at stables in Chalk Lane, Epsom, is a regular user of the Downs.

In the last three weeks she and Ryan have also been chased by a collie and a King Charles spaniel.

She is backed by Simon Dow, chairman of Epsom Trainers Association.

“It is important to say that the majority of dog owners are very responsible but there are groups of people who don’t seem to know the rules.

"There are problems that need to be addressed because we want everyone to be safe.

“There is the potential for injuries to dogs as well as horses.

"A racehorse is a very stressy animal and if a dog gets kicked it could be very badly hurt.”

There are rules in place on the Downs that dogs must be under control but they do not have to be on leads.

Epsom and Walton Downs Conservators are considering what steps to take to ensure horse riders, dog walkers and other downs users can use the downs safely.

Chairman of the Conservators Councillor Jean Smith said: “I would like to emphasise that we are not anti dog but we are anti irresponsible dog owners.”

The conservators are to develop an education programme on the safe use of the downs but stricter rules on dog walking could be brought in as a last resort.

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