Story of horses jumping over a car shocked animal lovers everywhere... now the woman who spoke out is being threatened and abused
A woman who spoke out over an event in which horses were made to jump a battered old car says she has been subjected to an online campaign of abuse and threats by members of the public.
Siobhan English branded the charity hack in Co Tyrone an "absolute disgrace" when she posted shocking images on her Facebook page which showed one horse crashing to the ground after jumping the Peugeot 206.
She posted: "This is irresponsible riding at the highest level...horrific to think that this goes on in Ireland and is tolerated by 'so-called' horse lovers."
Hundreds of people posted messages of condemnation on the Belfast Telegraph's Facebook page after we highlighted the events at the Greencastle hack in March, which was organised by Mountain View Equestrian. A number of horses were injured and one rider attended hospital after her horse fell at the car jump.
It was reported to Animal Welfare officers that one horse left the field with a flap of skin hanging down from his chest between his legs.
The event is now being investigated by Animal Welfare at Fermanagh & Omagh Council and the charity Charis Cancer Care, which says its trustees were not aware of the fundraiser taking place.
Yesterday, freelance journalist Siobhan English told the Belfast Telegraph that some of the people involved are giving hunting a bad name as their activities are unregulated by an official body.
"One guy said he would send animal activists to burn down my house," she said. "Someone else called me an Aids-ridden ex-hooker.
"I've had anti-hunting people threaten me before and ring me at 2am, but we're dealing with a different kind of person here.
"Horses and metal do not go together - it's endangering lives and some of those horses were not fit for purpose at all."
Siobhan said an official from the Hunting Association has advised her to make a statement to gardai - as she lives in the Republic - and supply copies of the abuse posted about her online.
She said people in the area who have been posting photos of their horses jumping cars over the last few years appear to have been inspired by a jump at Badminton Horse Trails consisting of two pick-ups parked back to back.
"There is a big difference - those horses are super fit. There's no comparison. This jump was over height and far too wide for some of the horses that were jumping it. It was lucky that somebody wasn't killed.
"I think what they are doing is wrong, it's unregulated and it shouldn't be allowed.
"This is not horsemanship. Horses of this size and calibre are not meant to jump cars of this size. How somebody wasn't killed or seriously injured, I don't know."
Meanwhile, organiser Patricia Keenan claimed she has been the target of a "tsunami of hatred and vitriol" and that false and vitriolic allegations had been levelled against the equestrian community in the north west.
"The event raised £1,600 which has been paid to the designated cancer charity," she told the Tyrone Constitution.
"As a photographic prop we constructed a car obstacle similar to what is published for Badminton Horse Trails. It was never intended that this obstacle would be actually jumped and on the morning of the ride-out I had delegated a number of tasks, one of which was to close the pallets across the approach to the jump and hang a red flag on it.
"Unfortunately, due to time constraints and confusion within the assistants, this instruction was not executed with the unfortunate consequence that a few riders out of the entire field of 65 riders elected of their own will to deviate from the designated, clearly marked route which involved a modest jump over a ditch."