Waverley councillor David Munro has added his voice to local residents calling for the activities of packs of dogs being walked on public land to be regulated.
It follows a very serious incident on Thursley Common on the afternoon of Saturday, January 27 where it is understood that a pack of some eight dogs being walked by a single handler became out of control and spooked a nearby horse, throwing its rider and then bolting onto the A3.
David Munro said: “Mercifully, there were no serious injuries in this case but clearly the consequences could have been very bad indeed. It follows the tragic death last year in East Surrey where a handler was killed.
“I and others have asked Waverley council to investigate this issue urgently, in conjunction with other councils and the police, to see what can be done to regulate this activity. A maximum of four dogs per handler has been suggested for instance.
“There’s no easy solution but matters can’t be left as they are.”
Footage was shared with the Herald showing the moment the riderless horse gallops past cars on the A3 dual carriageway – in the wrong direction.
Richard Saxel, 50, was driving north on the A3 between Guildford and Milford when he saw the thoroughbred running towards him.
He said: “I became aware of all the traffic travelling south flashing their headlights.
“I thought it was a VIP in a convoy. Then the traffic on my side starts peeling left and right.
“I saw this horse galloping down the road. It was saddled so it must gave escaped its rider.
“It just kept running and running – it must have gone a mile down the road.”
The rider concerned was said to have been left “very distressed” by the incident.
The Herald understands the horse was new to the yard and had been out on the commons near Elstead when it encountered a pack of eight dogs off lead, on the bridleway.
“They quickly surrounded the horse and things escalated until the horse unseated the rider and bolted,” said a friend of the rider.
“It wasn‘t actually near the A3 at the time but the horse not knowing it’s way home (they nearly always run home if they can) somehow got onto the Thursley slip road and ran headlong into traffic.
“It’s an absolute miracle he wasn‘t killed, given how busy the road was and the rider was lucky enough to only be a bit battered and bruised.
“It could have been an even bigger tragedy had the horse collided with a car as horses way around half a tonne.
“Obviously she is unbelievably glad her horse is alive but we don‘t know if he‘ll ever be able to be ridden again and what he‘ll do if he comes across dogs and traffic.”