A HORSE rider is warning people about a “dangerous” and “out of control” dog that left her mare with a potentially life-threatening leg injury.

Julie Salmon was riding her piebald cob Puzzle along a track on the West Moors plantation when a German Shepherd approached suddenly from a wooded area and carried out a “sustained attack”.

Julie, who has a disability, said she was nearly thrown off her terrified horse who was reacting like a “bucking bronco from the Wild West”.

The dog’s owner did not apologise for the attack, but blamed Julie for the incident before walking off, she said.

“The dog was behaving like a wolf, growling and biting at Puzzle’s heels. She was rearing up and lashing out with her hooves. I don’t know how I managed to stay on. I’m a competent rider and have ridden horses since I was five years old. If I’d have fallen off I would have needed an ambulance.”

Julie immediately called the police and a vet for Puzzle after the incident on Monday morning. The 19-year-old horse, which is kept at Eastmoors Riding School in St Leonards, was treated for her hock wounds and given antibiotics by the vet as she faced a possibly life-threatening infection from the dog bite.

Julie, who has had spinal surgery and two knee replacements for arthritis, is now determined to track down the dog’s owner. She has described her as a tall, slim woman with short blonde wavy hair. The German Shepherd has black and grey speckled fur.

It is not the first time the dog has attacked a horse, Julie said.

A rider from the stables had their horse bolt after the dog tried to attack it recently.

And Julie’s daughter encountered the dog while riding Puzzle on the plantation a couple of weeks ago. However, on that occasion the owner had control of the animal.

Julie has passed on the details of the dog and its owner to the East Dorset dog warden and the British Horse Society. Police are also investigating the incident.

“The dog is out of control and dangerous,” Julie said. “The way it went for my horse was unbelievable. The owner screamed at me and said it was my fault. Afterwards she walked off in the opposite direction.

“There have been other out-of-control dogs on the plantation in the past, but most dog owners are responsible. As always, it’s the few spoiling it for the many.

“I can’t avoid riding on the plantation, but I’m worried if an attack like this happens again. I’m just relieved I didn’t have my dog with me on this occasion as that German Shepherd could have ripped her to shreds.”