A rider whose horse was left with blood dripping down its legs after an attack by ‘barking and snarling dogs’ in Liphook wants owners to take more responsibility for their pets.

Tonicka Liddiard, 20, is a freelance groomer and was out with a friend exercising two young horses at Iron Hill, Liphook on February 28 at 10am when she says that four dogs came running out of the hedge. The dogs, who she says were two Alsatians and possibly two Vizslas, surrounded the horses, “barking and snarling”.

The horses were spooked but fortunately did not kick out, but the dogs did not leave the horses alone until their unseen owner whistled. In shock, Tonicka and her friend did not immediately realise one of the horses had been attacked. But Tonicka soon saw blood dripping from one of the horse's back legs where it had been bitten.

The large bite might need stitches and Tonicka says it is fortunate that the incident was not even worse. She said: “It is so lucky that the horses were so well behaved. Otherwise we could have had broken dogs, broken horses and broken people, all because of one ignorant owner.“

“The worst thing is that the owner didn’t come and check on the dogs, or us, at all. We didn’t even see them!”

This is not the first time Tonicka has had dealings with out-of-control dogs. One of her father’s sheep was mauled to death by a husky after three dogs broke into the field and attacked last year. The vet said the sheep that died had 13 puncture wounds. Her father was devastated by the loss.

What Tonicka wants is for dog owners to realise the harm their pets can cause. She said: “If it had been a human the dog bit, it would have been put down. But because it is a horse, or a sheep, it’s ‘fine’. It is not fine.”

When Tonicka posted her story on Facebook she found many people have had similar experiences, with one person starting an online petition to get the law changed to provide better protection for horses and riders from dogs. To view the petition head to https://tinyurl.com/petitiontoprotect