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Hat saves riders life after dog attack

26 Jan 2018


Viv Spencer was thrown from her horse when a loose dog ran onto her land, causing her horse to panic, bolt and kick. She received a kick to the head and leg, but didn’t suffer any serious injuries thanks to her new hat.

The British Horse Society (BHS) has had over 1,000 incidents involving dogs and horses reported to them since 2010, of these more than 450 horses and 400 riders have been injured. Shockingly, three riders and 18 horses have died as a result of dogs attacking. 

Viv said: “This happened at home where you least expect it and I have to say I have been guilty of not wearing a hat in the past, but never again, I dread to think what would of happened if I hadn’t been wearing one”. 


The British Horse Society is urging dog owners to be more mindful, and to put their dogs on a lead when they see a horse. Sarah Phillips, the BHS’ Chief Operating Officer said: “This just goes to show why it is so important that riders wear a riding hat that meets the current safety standards. As this incident shows, dogs can cause horses to panic and bolt, so we would urge all owners to keep their dog on a lead when they see a horse.”

Viv “begrudgingly” purchased a new hat so she could meet British Dressage standards, she now realises that investing in a good hat is “worth every penny”.

Find out more information about staying safe when riding.

If you or your horse have been involved in an equine-related incident, we want to hear about it. Our online report form lets you tell us about any accidents, incidents or near-misses you’ve experienced with your horse, whether it’s on the roads, involving dogs, in fields with bird scarers, or any other kind of safety issue. Report an incident online.

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