Originally Posted by Darrin
gtmochi, I would be very very careful with pepper spray. If the wind blows wrong your horse will get a dose and that will save a cougar the trouble of chasing you down, and you come with seasoning already applied. Pepper spray is not something you can train your horse to accept I believe.
For non lethal your best bet would be an air horn. You can work with your mare (she's really only 4 with that attitude?) to stay calm when used. Start with something fairly quiet, like a whistle and go up from there in decibels.
I'm not sure of CA laws on hunting cat but just up north in Oregon it has been illegal to use dogs for hunting cat for some years now. There is also laws against harrasing game so cats up here basically are not hunted. They've lost their fear of man and are slowly becoming more of a problem. Interestingly, the official state hunter for Oregon is allowed to use dogs to nab troublesome cats. What's good for the goose isn't good for the gander it seems.
Thanks Darrin! Now I think maybe the air horn is the safest for me since I can work with Playday to get used to it. I always feel that I'm safer mounted, and the last thing I want to do is make myself a spicy treat for an alarmingly large predator.
The whole dog/no dog cougar hunting sounds like a huge double standard...if the cats aren't being hurt and it helps keep them wary of people, it seems a win-win for everyone? Although admittedly my knowledge about hunting and things related is lacking. Unless it involves fox hunting. Which in the few rides I've done did not actually involve a fox. So really, I guess my hunting IQ = 0.
Meanwhile, I can't resist gushing - isn't it amazing she's only 4?? Lucky for me she didn't make it as a harness racer (she clips her front L with her back R and wasn't quite fast enough) so her owners brought her home from the track in Sacramento as a riding horse. She's a total pro when comes to almost any kind of potential scary moment: fire trucks, large groups of bikers, plastic bags, rogue beer cans clattering out of no-where, 4 wheelers, assorted animals including yaks but excluding sheep....still can't figure out that one. Large groups of them give her the willies!
Thanks again for your (and everyone's) advice. I knew you all would have great knowledge and experience to share!