A woman who was captured kicking and hitting a pony by a Hertfordshire animal rights group has been found not guilty of animal cruelty offences.

Sarah Moulds was found not guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal, a grey pony she owned called Bruce Almighty.

After a three-day trial at Lincoln Crown Court, the jury of 11 men and one woman cleared the 39-year-old after just five hours of deliberation.

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.

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.

The Comet: Sarah Moulds was found not guilty of animal cruelty offences at Lincoln Crown Court.Sarah Moulds was found not guilty of animal cruelty offences at Lincoln Crown Court. (Image: PA Images/PA Wire)

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.

Hertfordshire Hunt Saboteurs captured her actions on video, leading to the RSPCA bringing a case against her.

Moulds, and several friends and family who have supported her throughout proceedings, wept as the verdict was delivered.

READ MORE: Ex-teacher captured hitting pony by Herts animal rights group denies charges

Thanking the jury for their service, Recorder Graham Huston said: "Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much. I know it was not an easy case, no case is easy, but some cases are more difficult than others.

"What is obvious is you gave this case the utmost attention and you proceeded with your deliberations carefully and thoroughly and I am very grateful to you."

During the trial, 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.

The Comet: Sarah Moulds speaking outside Lincoln Crown Court after being found not guilty.Sarah Moulds speaking outside Lincoln Crown Court after being found not guilty. (Image: PA Images/PA Wire)

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 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."