COUNTY NEWS: Rider ‘strikes’ person with riding crop as hunters and saboteurs clash

A still from the footage used with permission from Brighton Hunt Saboteurs
A still from the footage used with permission from Brighton Hunt Saboteurs

Police are investigating after a man was allegedly struck repeatedly with a riding crop by a horse rider at a hunt.

The incident happened when South Coast Hunt Sabs clashed with the East Sussex and Romney Marsh Hunt in a field off Church Road, Herstmonceux, at around 12.30pm on Saturday (November 18).

A dramatic video posted by Brighton Hunt Saboteurs went viral on social media after it appeared to show a woman on a horse whipping a man who had grabbed her horse’s reins.

Cries of ‘let go’ and ‘get off the horse’ can be heard among expletives, while others can be heard shouting for the woman to stop using the horse ‘as a weapon’.

In a second video by the same group the female rider appears to approach the camera person and tell them to ‘get back on the road’.

When another saboteur approaches her horse she appears to strike him with her whip, saying ‘get off my horse’.

Sussex Police says the victim was reported to have received a bruise and bump to the head, but did not require medical treatment.

A spokesperson said, “The informant was not a witness to the incident, but police have now identified the alleged victim and an investigation is under way.

“Police are aware of a video reportedly showing the incident being available on social media.

“Anyone who witnessed the incident is asked to report online at https://sussex.police.uk/appealresponse or call 101 quoting serial 585 of 18/11.”

Brighton Hunt saboteurs said on its Facebook page, “The terrierboys were on three quad bikes, one with no number plates on a public road and another equipped with spades and terriers.

“It seems they were clearly planning on hunting more than a ‘trail’.

“However, the huntsman was kept to a relatively small area of marshy ground with no woods or coverts and the hounds weren’t heard in cry all day.

“Clearly unable to reconcile with the fact that most people find her ‘hobby’ abhorrent, one rider also lost the plot and started riding sabs down and attacking us with her whip.”

An East Sussex and Romney Marsh Hunt spokesperson said, “The East Sussex and Romney Marsh Hunt does not condone any form of violence even when faced with extreme provocation, personal harassment and other offences.

“The hunt acts lawfully within the confines of the Hunting Act 2004 and takes every measure to ensure the law is adhered to.”​

And a spokesperson for the Countryside Alliance said, “As we have always known, the reality is that the anti-hunting movement is far more about the hatred of people who hunt than the love of animals.

“Hunts comply with the Hunting Act 2004 by trail-hunting and using other legal forms of exempt hunting however they are still plagued by balaclava-clad animal-rights activists who intimidate and harass hunt supporters and landowners.

“Throughout the hunting debate, those opposed to hunting from Ministerial level down, asserted that it was wholly an animal welfare measure and that they wanted hunts to continue hunting an artificial scent once the ban was in place yet it becomes more and more obvious that the primary aim of the anti-hunting movement is to get rid of people who hunt, rather than to improve animal welfare.”​