A sickening video appearing to show a hunt rider kick and slap a horse has triggered a furious reaction after being shared on social media.
Anti-hunting campaign group Hertfordshire Hunt Saboteurs shared a video of what looks like an ill-tempered horserider attacking the animal when it ran into the road.
In the clip, the grey-coloured horse runs away from its carrier and into the road, only to be stopped and grabbed by the reins by the woman.
She then kicks the horse once in the chest, followed by several slaps to the animal's face, while the people recording the footage gasp in shock.
The rider, dressed in cream breeches and a navy jacket, is believed to be part of Cottesmore Hunt, a foxhound pack based in Rutland.
The RSPCA launched an appeal for information after the video was shared on social media at the weekend, Mirror Online reports.
Several people contacted the charity to urge them to investigate the incident.
A person tweeted: "This is unacceptable!!! That poor horse was hit and kicked. Every day more shocking evidence emerges of the violent cruelty these hunts inflict on innocent animals.
"Ridiculous that they are allowed to get away with it."
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One replied: "Totally agree with you something seriously needs to be done about it no animal should be treated like that."
A third viewer said: "As a horsewoman myself, nothing makes me angrier than seeing footage such as this. It is shameful.
"There is absolutely no excuse for this behaviour.
"No matter how frustrated you are, no matter if you’ve had a bad day.
"Horses are so sensitive. What a way to make them head shy."
Following the incident, Cottesmore Hunt said it did not condone the actions shown in the video "under any circumstances", ITV reports.
"We will be reminding all of our supporters that this will not be tolerated," it added.
The Hunting Office condemned the actions of the woman, saying she is not a member of the hunting associations.
In a statement, 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."
A spokesman from the Hunting Office said: "The Hunting Office 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."
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