A SNARLING pit bull terrier left a horse needing emergency treatment after a savage attack on a South Marston bridleway.

The attack left 15-year-old Hattie soaked in blood and with deep cuts across her chest and stomach.

Rider Tracey Johnson was thrown from her horse as the pit bull leapt up at it repeatedly biting and clawing at Hattie's stomach.

She said: "It was an absolute bloodbath. I have never seen anything like it. I just kept screaming over and over again - please get away from my horse, please get off Hattie."

The incident happened just after 10am on Monday as Tracey rode with friend Viv Flatman along the bridle path.

"We just saw a dog speeding towards us and before we knew it I was on the floor and Hattie was being ripped to shreds," said Tracey.

"I was in shock and the dog just could not be stopped, it was relentless."

The 42-year-old alleges that the dog-walker - a man in his 50s - stood by and did nothing during the attack.

Holding back her tears she said: "I screamed, I pleaded but he just stood there and watched. It was the most horrific thing I have ever seen - I can't get it out of my head."

Tracey called 999 when there was no sign of the 25-minute attack coming to an end.

Terrified Harriet eventually bolted towards the road - the dog still clinging on to her underbelly by its teeth.

She was found back at her stables bleeding heavily and with her attacker sat injured and panting nearby.

She was given emergency surgery to close her gaping wounds and has been left with 16 stitches.

Ambulance crews took Tracey to the Great Western Hospital where she was treated for a twisted pelvis, torn ligaments in her legs, and back and wrist injuries.

The mum-of-five says the incident has left her terrified and reluctant to allow her children to ride their tiny Shetland pony Tara along the path.

Friend Viv said: "As horrific as it is we are hoping this will serve as a shocking warning to dog owners to keep their dogs on a lead and especially the owners of violent breeds such as pit bulls."

Tracey has no idea how long it will be before she rides again.

She needs intensive physiotherapy and regular visits to the chiropractor before she will be safe to ride again.

Harriet will take a month to recover from her ordeal.

Veterinary surgeon Lucy Stam, of Hall and Lawrence veterinary practice, said that Harriet had had a lucky escape.

"Harriet is a very calm and steady horse and has been used for children to give them confidence when riding in the past," she said.

"She seemed okay - it is lucky she is so sensible. A lot of horses would have had severe stress from an incident like that, but not her."

A Wiltshire Police spokesman said: "I can confirm that officers attended a call to a bridle path after reports of an attack on a horse by a dog.

"The horse's owner was taken to the Great Western Hospital where she was treated for her injuries and the matter is now being investigated further by officers at Swindon."