DEBBIE Coffey says the Vale of White Horse Hunt terrorised her sick horse and ignored her pleas to keep the hounds away.

The mum-of-two, of Green Hill, near Lydiard Millicent, claims her 11-year-old cobb Dolly was traumatised when the hunt's hounds entered her field.

The 40-year-old said: "We understand living in a village that there will be hunting but this was not on.

"The VWH hunt has no respect for local animal owners. They were galloping up and down outside my stables even though we had said Dolly was ill.

"The horses go mad when the hunts come and she needed to be resting."

Dolly was recovering from a bad chest infection when Mrs Coffey said she saw the hounds enter the field on Wednesday afternoon.

She said: "I had even put on the electric fence to keep Dolly in, but when the dogs and horses got near she became too excited.

"She jumped the fence and churned up the field running in circles. The vet said she needed to be kept dry and calm, but she was sweating heavily on one of the coldest days of the year."

Her friend Linda Moore, 54, drove to her neighbouring field from Park South. She thinks animal protection laws may have been broken and that it was an old-style fox hunt that took place, which is now banned.

She said: "I went into the lane and asked the huntsmen to stop passing, because it was upsetting Dolly.

"It's a private road but they just carried on with what they were doing."

Ms Moore claimed the hunt was not drag hunting as allowed by law, but was chasing an animal.

She said: "With a legal drag hunt they tear along barking because they are on the scent. But this was different, they went into a copse nearby and the huntsmen were calling to each other saying things like There it is'.

"They passed on at least three occasions and didn't seem to care what happened to Dolly."

Mrs Coffey said she was angry that the hunt had ignored her wishes.

She said: "I have had horses all my life, and I'm certainly not anti-hunt. But they ignored us for their fun. I saw probably 20 horses and their pack of hounds. They were blowing their horns and their dogs were going berserk."

Master of the Hunt Martin Wood strongly rejected claims that an illegal hunt had taken place.

He said: "There was no way we were fox hunting. We were trail hunting which is where a quad bike or a horse will lay a scent for the hounds.

"We got permission to ride down that lane. We had to use that lane to get there and back because that's the only way to go. We only went once as a group, and we sent someone back later to put some wire up."

Mr Wood disagreed that the hunt should have taken another route.

He said: "We weren't doing anything wrong. We were given permission by more than one of the farmers and as such we had a right to go along there.

"They have a right of way and can give anybody a right of way to get as far as their property. You must be able to ride past people's fields mustn't you?

"We aren't going to stop going along a track because someone has a horse in a field."