The family of a British woman have come to her defence after footage emerged of her appearing to kick and punch a distressed horse on Saturday (local time).
Sarah Moulds, 37, was filmed kicking the pony in the chest before repeatedly hitting it around the face as she led it back to the horsebox.
It has not yet been confirmed why Moulds was attacking the distressed pony, but a family member said they knew the horse ran out onto the road before the 37-year-old told it off.
Moulds is "terrified" and "fears for her life" after receiving death threats after the video sparked outrage online.
Moulds' uncle, David Kirkam has defended his niece telling the Mail Online UK that she "absolutely loves her horses".
"She is a very upright person, a fantastic person who absolutely loves her horses," Kirkham says. "I’ve seen the video, but we don't know what the horse had been doing and if it was out of control.
"But we know it ran out onto the road and she told it off. There was no malice intended.
"She was reprimanding the horse. I have no idea if it is her horse, I expect it is because it was by her horsebox."
The mother-of-two, who was involved with her local Pony Club, has closed down her social media and is staying at a secret location away from her home after receiving abuse and threats.
A neighbour of Moulds said the incident was "awful" and has gotten "very much out of hand."
"She fears for her life," the neighbour tells the Mail. "She has young children and she is worried about them as well as herself.
"She's well known and respected in equestrian circles and her social media was bombarded with comments from very angry people after the video went viral and she's now had to close it down."
"I don't know what happened and in what context, but what is now happening to Sarah is horrible.
"She's terrified of being in her own home in case someone targets her or her kids there."
Moulds has been suspended by the pony club - where she was a team manager - who have called her actions "unacceptable", while the school where she teaches has suspended her while she's under investigation.
"We are aware of the video circulating showing unacceptable treatment of a pony and we wholeheartedly condemn this behaviour," a Pony Club spokesman told MailOnline.
Moulds is being investigated by an animal cruelty charity after the video racked up more than two million views. The RSPCA described it as "really upsetting".