A young rider from Country Durham has sustained serious injuries after teenagers deliberately spooked her horse.
The 22-year-old woman was riding along the Sustrans track near Oakey Park when the incident took place around lunchtime on Tuesday 3 May.
As she went past a group of teenage boys jumped out of bushes and threw bottles at the horse.
The rider was thrown to the ground but recovered enough to attempt to escape on her horse. When one of the group ran at her horse spooking it, the victim was again thrown to the ground.
Oakey Park is a beauty spot comprising playing fields woodland and cycle tracks and is a popular place for horse riders.
A police spokesman told the Northern Echo newspaper: “As result of this incident the rider has suffered serious injuries which will require surgery and a lengthy recovery period.”
The police have released a description of one suspect in the hope of finding information on the attack or the perpetrators.
One of the boys was described as being around 5ft 1in in height with pale skin and blond hair swept to the side around 14-15 years old of skinny build. He was wearing a light grey tracksuit top and bottoms with a white t-shirt underneath.
Anyone with information should contact PC Wilcox of Stanley police by calling non-emergency number 101.