'Hunt rider' condemned for 'slapping and kicking' horse

Footage appears to show a woman hitting a horse after it runs into a road

A woman who appears to kick and slap a horse in footage shared on social media has been condemned by the UK's national body for hunting.

The Hunting Office said it "expects the highest level of animal welfare" following an allegation that the woman, who appears to hit the horse after it canters into a road, was a member of the Cottesmore Hunt, a foxhound pack based in Rutland.

The incident was shared on social media on Sunday by the Hertfordshire Hunt Saboteurs, an anti-hunting campaign group.

Hertfordshire Hunt Saboteurs called the footage "shocking", while the RSPCA said it was "upsetting".

The Hunting Office said it "expects the highest level of animal welfare at all times - both on and off the hunting field - and condemns the actions taken by this individual, who is not a member of the hunting associations.”

The Cottesmore Hunt, pictured here in 1997, is one of the oldest packs in the country. Credit: PA

Cottesmore Hunt said it did not condone the actions shown in the video "under any circumstances".

"We will be reminding all of our supporters that this will not be tolerated,” it added.

The woman in the footage held a voluntary leadership position at the Pony Club, a non-profit for youngsters interesting in riding. However, the organisation let her go after the video came to light.

It said on Tuesday: "We are aware of the video circulating showing unacceptable treatment of a pony and we wholeheartedly condemn this behaviour.

"The welfare of horses and ponies is of the utmost importance to The Pony Club".

Leicestershire Police said they were also aware of the video."The RSPCA is leading on this investigation and Leicestershire Police will assist and support the investigation as required," the force said.

The RSPCA said: “This footage is really upsetting. We will always look into complaints made to us about animal welfare. We would urge anyone with first hand information about this incident to contact us on 0300 123 4999.”