THIS three-year-old boy needed hospital treatment after being bitten by a pony and hurled through the air.
Little Steven Goldsmith was feeding the animal, which was grazing on land at St Luke’s Road, Pennywell, when it lunged at him, grabbed his T-shirt and threw him more than 5ft.
His frantic mum Sarah Rowlands, who was with her son and two-year-old daughter Sarah Goldsmith at the time, watched in horror as he was torn from her arms.
“He was in absolute shock,” she said.
“One minute he was feeding it, the next it had grabbed him and thrown him across the field. I was terrified.”
Screaming in agony, Steven was taken to Sunderland Royal Hospital where he underwent treatment for chest injuries.
“I couldn’t believe what had happened,” said Sarah. “He was in tears.
“I just picked them both up and got them as far away as possible from the pony in case it went for him again.”
Steven is now recovering at home in Pennywell, after doctors reassured his family that the injuries were “superficial”.
“He’s got bite marks and really bad bruising, but thankfully no broken bones,” said Sarah.“It could have been a lot worse.
“Understandably, it has made him really wary of animals. He won’t go anywhere near them.”
Fearing future attacks, Sarah is warning other parents of the dangers of getting too close to ponies and horses, which are often petted by passing children.
“A lot of people go down there,” she said.
“When I was growing up, I remember going to pet the ponies – everybody did it. It’s a popular spot for families.
“The ponies and horses have been grazing there for years and I can’t remember anything like this happening before.”
She added: “I was right next to Steven when it happened. There was no warning.
“I don’t blame the owners. We were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“I’ve been told that a couple of nights before it happened there were kids down there hitting the ponies, so maybe they don’t trust anyone anymore.”