A woman who was allegedly captured kicking and hitting a pony by a Hertfordshire animal rights group has denied causing unnecessary suffering to the animal.

Sarah Moulds is standing trial at Lincoln Crown Court after images, taken by Hertfordshire Hunt Saboteurs, emerged of a woman striking the pony in Lincolnshire, in 2021.

The 39-year-old, from Somerby, near Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, denies causing unnecessary suffering to the grey pony and not taking reasonable steps to protect the animal from pain, suffering, injury or disease, following the RSPCA's decision to bring a private prosecution against her.

The court heard Ms Moulds had been riding for a number of hours with the Cottesmore Hunt - one of Britain's oldest foxhound packs - near Gunby in Lincolnshire on November 6, 2021.

The Comet: Ms Moulds can be seen kicking the pony.Ms Moulds can be seen kicking the pony. (Image: PA Images/PA Wire)

As she was putting the horses back in the trailer, a grey pony named Bruce Almighty, was being held by a child before unexpectedly running about 25 metres down the road.

Ms Moulds told the court she instructed the child to let go of Bruce, as she believed "a number of horrific things" could have happened if the child attempted to hold on.

As the pony returned, a woman caught on camera appeared to be striking out at the animal, which she described as "immediately chastising him" to "briefly shock" Bruce, but denied losing her temper.

"In that moment, Bruce has done something incredibly dangerous and, in that exact moment, I decided that the right thing to do was discipline him quickly," she said.

"In reality, in that moment, it was four seconds.

"My intention was then, and always was, to discipline Bruce in the moment so that he does not do it again.

"There was minimal contact and it was so quick and so short.


"I don't believe I inflicted pain on him. I did not hit him with any degree of force and I don't believe Bruce was afraid."

Ms Moulds, who lost her job as a teacher with the Mowbray Education Trust, and received death threats, said her life had been "torn to pieces" by the case.

"I certainly will never strike a horse, discipline a horse, in that manner because my life has been torn to pieces as a result of that four-second decision," she added.

Dr Suzanne Green, an equine veterinary surgeon who analysed the footage frame-by-frame at Lincoln Crown Court, said Bruce "was desperately trying to get away" from Ms Moulds' blows and would have been left with bruises.

"The overall conclusion I have reached was that Bruce was caused unnecessary suffering by the actions of Sarah Moulds in that video," she said.

The Comet: Sarah Moulds is on trial at Lincoln Crown Court.Sarah Moulds is on trial at Lincoln Crown Court. (Image: PA Images/PA Wire)

"The actions she gave to Bruce were not proportionate, not appropriate and not in response to anything.

"By physically kicking a horse that hard, it is obviously inciting fear into that horse as it is an unpleasant experience.

"You have only kicked a horse like that to deliver pain because it will hurt it."

Moulds was dismissed from her position at the Mowbray Education Trust in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, in December 2021. In January 2022, she was charged with two offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

The trial continues at Lincoln Crown Court today.