HORSE 'ATTACK' Ex-school teacher Sarah Moulds sobs ‘my life has been torn to pieces’ after moment she punched horse is played in court


The former teacher then slapped the nag round the head four times while saboteurs filmed the scene during a meet of the Cottesmore Hunt, in November 2021.

Giving evidence, primary school teacher Mrs Moulds, who owns four horses in her own stables, broke down in tears claiming "my life has been torn to pieces".

The defendant said after the video her family was forced to leave their home with a police escort and go into hiding as officers were concerned about their “safety”.

The mum, who has been riding since the age of four, told the court: "Without considering what those two children went through, considering I lost my job.

"We never went trail hunting again because these people threatened to kill me."

Recalling the incident, she told the court: "When Bruce leaves us, in that moment, that child is holding the rope because she does not want to let Bruce go.

"I shouted at her to let him go. He is 400 kilos. At that moment there is a number of horrific things that could happen. She could fall. She could trip."

She added: "In that moment he had done something incredibly dangerous, and in that moment I decided to discipline him.

"We have seen it slowed down in milliseconds, but in reality it was four seconds. My intention was then, as I said back in my interview in November, was to discipline him."

She did not deny striking the horse with "minimal contact" but denied that it was animal cruelty.

Mrs Moulds added: "There was minimal contact and no pain to my hand. He made no attempt to escape, we load him back into the trailer and go about our normal lives.

"The next day he met me just as normal, in his happy way at the gate, as he always has to be let out first.

"If anybody had come out they would have seen there was no bruising, no injury, that Bruce had never shown any fear towards me.

“Four seconds does not define a relationship between an owner and a horse."

Mrs Moulds later added: "It wasn't temper, I think you can see in the video it wasn't temper."

Derek Duffy, defending, told the court Sarah Moulds, as per DEFRA guidance and her interview, was delivering an immediate punishment to Bruce because he had walked away.

Dr Clive Madeiros, a vet called as a defence expert on behalf of the defence, said in his opinion the horse did not suffer unnecessary pain and suffering.

He added: "When you look at the head I don't think it is fear and pain, I think it is more likely to be discomfort."

At the opening of a trial today, RSPCA prosecutors claimed the onslaught had caused "fear and distress" to the child’s pony, stating it suffered physically and mentally.

Moulds claimed her behaviour was that of a “reasonable, competent and humane person”.

But a vet argued the horse was unnecessarily being “caused fear”.

Hazel Stevens, prosecuting for the RSPCA, told Lincoln Crown Court: "This is a case brought by the RSPCA, a private prosecution, and arises from events in 2021.

"The matter came to light when a video clip was posted on social media, that was eventually shared with the RSPCA."

Miss Stevens said two ponies had been left with two children next to Moulds' horse box when Bruce ran into the road with a child still holding his rope.

She also argued it was also unnecessary to chastise Bruce at that time as the pony had already been caught.

The prosecutor said: "The prosecution case effectively is firstly that this pony suffered, it suffered physically and mentally at the time, and that suffering was unnecessary."

The court heard there were no physical injuries to Bruce when he was examined on November 16, 2021, and he was in "good health."

However an expert instructed by the RSPCA concluded the animal would have suffered "fear and distress" during the incident.

Giving evidence, RSPCA inspector Keith Hogben, said a number of complaints had been received after the footage was circulated on social media.

During an interview, Moulds said Bruce "took off down the road" after she loaded her own horse into their horse box.

The court heard she described telling the child to drop the rope and then immediately chastised Bruce after catching him.

She said in interview: "I feel it was necessary in the circumstances, Bruce was a child's pony."

Mrs Moulds claimed he was a risk to other road users, himself and the children.

Moulds told the RSPCA inspector: "I disagree that it was unnecessary, and I disagree that he suffered."