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Walkamile 01-20-2010 01:30 PM

Dogs on the Trail
We talk a lot about what a good trail horse is or isn't, but what about the companion dogs that are often along for the ride?

I do not have a trail dog, but have seen a lot of dogs on the trail. Some are respectful of the horses and do not cross and weave in front. Some like to nip at the heals of the horses (quite dangerous).

So, how do you handle a dog or dogs that are along for the ride but are not trail dogs. They have no horse sense (if you will) and often under foot of the horses and stirring the horses up.

Love to hear some stories and advice.

wild_spot 01-20-2010 03:37 PM

I only take dogs out who know not to run under feet - Just to dangerous for horse and dog otherwise.

However, I often take one, two or three of our working Kelpies out with me for a run when there isn't much sheep work. My dog has been out with me a lot, but her mum Holly and the other bitch, Flash, haven't.

Holly is good - She sticks with my dog and just tags along out of the way. Flash however sometimes crosses in front and tries to bite the horses on the nose - Not fun!

When she does it, I growl at her and ride my horse forward at her to throw her jump off. It generally works pretty well and she drops back with the others.

If a dog is inclined to run underfoot, I would take a leadrope with leather poppers or a stockwhip, and give them a flick if they got in range of the horses feet. Just too dangerous.

iridehorses 01-20-2010 04:07 PM

I've been very fortunate in that the dogs I've ridden with were very horse and trail savvy. Most of the time you don't remember that they are there. What I do have a problem with are people walking the trail with disrespectful dogs and not have them under control.

I've seen more then a few real iffy moments that were caused by these dogs getting aggressive or even overly friendly and their owners thinking that it was acceptable behavior.

RiosDad 01-21-2010 07:18 AM

I rode for many years with a great dog. He was a german shepherd and would heal in residential area and roamed back and forth in the country.
I also rode along a dog walking trail and ran into dozens of dogs not horse freindly. I never worried about them and if the owner didn't watch his loose dog I just told the owner my guy will kick if the dog nips.
Others would jump up on their hind legs trying to nip his nose but he seemed to just accept it.
The dog will learn quickly not to get underfoot if he gets kicked and I don't always mean a hind leg. A dog that is running in front of the horse and suddenly stops is going to get hit by a swinging front foot and it will teach him a valuable lesson.
Dogs are good for horse's with their constant darting out of the bushes. I beleive it steadies a horse

XxemmafuriaxX 01-21-2010 07:43 AM

yes i agree riosdad, it really does steady a horse my mare furia is VERY spooky there is proof on the "worst trail experiences" thread. i started taking my dogs on hacks and furia is not used to dogs, and she was very jumpy, she calmed down a lot and seemed to be watching the dogs instead of the bushes and horse eating monster we come across every now and again hah i would highly recomend (aslong as the dogs are safe) that you take dogs on hacks out it has helped furia a lot, and she no longer charges the dogs in the pasture either hahah

Walkamile 01-21-2010 08:15 AM

That's interesting XxemmafuriaxX that your mare actually calms down with all the popping out of the bushes. I suppose in her case it does occupy her mind trying to "find Waldo". :-)

One of the last club trail rides (I was not on it), one of the members brought her dog. This dog supposedly is used to horses but was nipping at the heals of them. No correction by the owner. Finally her own horse went nuts and blew up. In turn, caused several horses nearby to get over excited (yes these were green to the trail horses, but have been doing nicely during the season). Caused quite a muddlefuddle!

Since I'm hoping to have Walka join the group next riding season (especially when T is out of commission due to her RU), I need to get him exposed to having dogs running by and near him. Ours has sadly passed a few years back (Walka loved to chase him, Bear didn't like that game), so I am thinking of borrowing one of my girlfriends wonderful golden retrievers and go for a little ride this spring. Of course I'll have her join me, since her dog will obey her and we'll keep the dog close by.

I do enjoy adding to the list of what can I expose Walka to now list. Fortunately, it never ends. But, he usually focuses on me and my reaction to things to determine if we should stand or run. Just another way to test our relationship.

XxemmafuriaxX 01-21-2010 08:58 AM

yes she does calm down, i dont think she jumps when they come out of bushes because she knows they are there. lol it also get her used to the dogs they build a sort of bond. which for me is very usefull as the dogs are in the same padock as the horses and my poor doggies used to get charged if they were suddenly "in the way" lol

appy rider 4 life 01-21-2010 10:41 AM

i dont like it.... i rode with dogs when working with Calvin and i was more worried about them then the horse. so i dont like to ride with them. i mean they stayed to the side but i still dont not trust them not even the little one.

PhantomMiss 01-21-2010 11:57 AM

I have a 6 month old lab x acd and I took her trail riding with me twice in the fall. She did very well and stayed nearby, but did not get under foot. I don't mind trail riding with dogs as long as they don't get under foot. It usually only takes them getting kicked once or twice to learn to stay away from the hooves.

wild_spot 01-21-2010 03:27 PM

My dog, Skip, is the best dog for getting horses accustomed. She hangs close, just enough that they either try to attack or just deal with it - If they attack she just gets out of the way and then comes right back in.

On rides she is usually to the back or side, roaming a little but not much. Unfortunately a friend I was riding with ran her over on one of our regular trails and it has resulted in her refusing to follow us back down it - So I can't tale her on most of the rides we used to do.

Before that though, she would come everywhere - Through town, long rides, she would keep up when we went for a gallop.

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