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A friend of mine sent me this link to a video. It’s a bit older but the information is quite relevant especially if you ride alone. Gives multiple techniques how not to fall victim of an assault.

A few weeks ago while out on a local trail, I decided to explore a section that is normally off limits (but I had permission to go and look from before), anyhow while in that area I looked back towards where we came from and through the trees could see a lone male studying my tracks and following. I didn’t see him coming from the road and no idea how he got so close to us without being noticed before. But he was maybe 100’ away or less. Under the cover of the trees we used a different path to leave the area unnoticed. I don’t know what his intentions were, but it sure made the hair on the back of my neck stand). Mind you I did have our big GSD with us, so I felt safer but still.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=SEYCS...SHxzIjpkwa1U_MewRH7kD6pxIXD9xRBlc4zLuq0i-NIGc

Anyone else have any stories that keep you awake at night? Lol
 

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No fear > A Big German shepherd, they are naturally protective. B- your horse can outrun/run over a human.

My GSD knows 30 commands and one of them is What is it? (alert). She has saved me on three separate occassions from aggressive drug crazed bums and also removed a bear from the yard. With her and on horseback I feel well nigh invincible.
 

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Big dogs of protective breeds are typically only effective as a deterrent unless specifically trained for protection. People feel safer having their dogs with them, but the reality is, your dog probably will not actually actively protect you unless trained to do so.

Mine just stands and barks, which is good for drawing attention, but not so useful for actual protection.

If you're trained and you're in a place where it's legal the best self defence is to carry. Make sure you can safely shoot off your horse though. Otherwise take a self defence class, or make use of your horse's ability to outrun any human and just turn and RIDE if you feel threatened. Relying on a dog that isn't specifically trained isn't wise.
 

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I heard this one when something similar happened. True or not I do not know but like to believe it!

Two middleaged women were out riding when a man appeared exposing himself.

One of the women pulled out a large knife and yelled out "Trophies!" she then rode straight at the man who turned tail and ran away with her chasing him up a steep track.

The other woman was sat on her horse waiting, she was in fits of laughter.

All of a sudden she heard the man screaming and was worried that her friend had gathered her trophies.

Friend came back down the track laughing. Turns out the man had run off the track straight into a load of cactus.

Bet he didn't do that again!
 

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Big dogs of protective breeds are typically only effective as a deterrent unless specifically trained for protection. People feel safer having their dogs with them, but the reality is, your dog probably will not actually actively protect you unless trained to do so.

Mine just stands and barks, which is good for drawing attention, but not so useful for actual protection.

If you're trained and you're in a place where it's legal the best self defence is to carry. Make sure you can safely shoot off your horse though. Otherwise take a self defence class, or make use of your horse's ability to outrun any human and just turn and RIDE if you feel threatened. Relying on a dog that isn't specifically trained isn't wise.

Very, very true. I, thankfully, have at least one anomaly haha

My one dog (10 yr old mini aussie) would roll over for a belly rub from anyone she meets. It would be more along the lines of "Oh you want to hurt my mom, please rub my belly first!" haha she's utterly useless. Although she will alert to the occasional raccoon or fox and THAT bark while supposed to be a warning is adorable to me haha

My other girl (6 yr old standard aussie), however, I have no doubt she would tear someone up if they tried hurting me and she was not in no way trained to do that. She is the friendliest dog I think I have ever met she absolutely adores people, especially kids! She is ridiculously loyal to me, velcro puppy pretty much. I have had instances where I have had her out with me and if I am having a friendly conversation she will happily park herself at my side or lay down and just hang out calmly. If she senses that I am nervous she will place herself in between me and the person I am nervous of and watch my reactions while keeping a close eye on them. It took me YEARS to figure out what she was doing, but I noticed that the times when she places herself between me and the "threat" she is more on guard. If I relax she'll lay down. She was never taught any of this but in a pack setting she would be a natural leader based off of her personality (I am her alpha and in our little pack she is my beta and my old lady is sadly an omega haha goofball that she is.)

The one thing that solidified the thought that my dog would lay down her life for me was an incident with my sister and someone else. I was sitting on the couch and Sophie was on her dog bed in the corner. My sister is someone that she knows well and LOVES to death. My sister was in a bad mood and arguing with the person that was standing behind me and the argument got fairly heated to the point that my sister was screaming at the person behind me. Sophie left her bed and put herself in between me and my sister while staring down and low growling at her as a warning. My sister took a step forward while yelling at the person behind me and Sophie let out a louder growl in my sister's direction (kind of like a "I really don't want to but I will because you're threatening my mom" type of way. Even though I was not the target of the aggression, but she didn't know that.) My sister asked what was wrong with the dog and I told her to lower her voice and relax her stance I think Sophie is protecting me. The person behind me stomped up the stairs and my sister relaxed and calmed herself down and spoke to Sophie in her normal voice Sophie's guard hairs went down, she relaxed, and walked over to my sister for kisses and belly rubs. Had the aggression been towards me and my sister had touched me I have no doubt that, even though Sophie loved her, she probably would have gotten bit. She has never done that again but I have never been in that situation since then. Nor has she treated my sister different since then.

So when I take Sophie places I fell 100% confident in her ability to at least try to protect me should I need it. And let me clarify (because some might need it) she has NEVER EVER EVER been aggressive towards ANYONE EVER. This dog has never met a stranger and is not your typical "shy" aussie she's super social and loves EVERYONE and I would trust leaving a child alone with (though I never would for obvious reasons) But when she senses a threat she will warn but if I ask her to relax she immediately does. She was never once trained for protection, obedience yes but protection no, and I can only assume that this is her natural personality and her respect/bond with me as I have done all of her training since day 1. It is really interesting when you actually sit and watch a dog's natural behavior and you can learn how much they communicate through body language because Sophie reads mine faster than I realize what I am doing. She is a 1 in a million dog, I have a friend who trains in protection (straight German working lined German Shepherds) and she thinks Sophie is the coolest thing.

So while most dogs won't there are some anomalies!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
As far as having the GSD with me and feeling safer it’s mostly prevention. Chances are he wouldn’t attack. But he does have a big bark and will stand his ground. The bark for sure will attract attention, this time though he must have been too low to the ground and didn’t see the guy. So he stayed quiet thankfully lol.

As far outrunning a person, that’s essentially what I did, unnoticed lol. It’s not so much an issue if you still have distance between you. But most aren’t going to be obvious about it. what if you meet them on a fairly narrow trail and they grab you or your horse? That video I think has a few going points. I especially like the spin maneuver.

The running over part will only work if the horse is trained as most horses will do anything to avoid that.

We’re in Canada, so no can’t carry a concealed weapon. I’m ok with that though as often the person carrying has false sense of security and the weapon can be used against them.

Whether true or not, love the trophies story 🤣

In the end I’d never want to have to be in a position to need to use any of it. But it’s nice to have a few techniques in the back pocket.
 

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I always felt pretty safe riding until I moved here to the city. I don't go without my phone and pepper spray. I do ride in a popular area, and there are usually other riders out, but we also have a large homeless population that must be avoided. I just don't go to areas they have overtaken and always stick to well used trails.
 

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Seems to me if you sprayed pepper spray at an attacker and behind where the horse's nose is, the horse would have lots of incentive to move forward fast. But I think distance is the best bet. Pick up speed BEFORE the encounter if you can't keep your distance and pass by at a trot while explaining, "I'm training him for endurance!" DON'T stop and talk unless other factors say it is safe. Bad guys need to get close so they will be friendly until they can attack.

Glad I live where I can carry a gun. Don't do it often because I live in the desert and there just aren't many bad people who like to roam empty desert.....
 

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I did not write it but another of GSD Inga's commands is Get Him. A couple of months ago I took her to a riot in a city just to see how she would react to a hostile crowd. She did great and did not 'Get' anyone. Of course I did not say What Is It or Get Him. The times I was assailed by aggressive drug crazed bums she snarled and showed fang without any command from me and they ran away.

What I am most concerned about meeting is a bear on the trail. Inga has aggressivly advanced on a bear once before. If she took on a bear in a physical fight she would lose. Also, the rancher across the road does not ride anymore because one time he met a bear, the horse bolted and he fell and broke his back. The best I can do is bell my horse. That is what hikers do, they have bear bells on their packs so bears hear them and move off so are never seen. These are black bears. It is the moms with cubs that will attack.
 

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I live and ride in a very safe part of the country. But I once lived in an inner city ghetto, where there was a lot of crime. I learned that by far the best defense is to stay alert and trust your instincts. People bent on evil deeds pick their victims. They pick people who look oblivious, distracted, or naive and trusting. Be aware of your surroundings and don't hesitate to put space between you and a person or situation you don't feel okay about. Your horse is big, intimidating to anyone who isn't a horse person, and fast, use that because it is always available. Also use your horse's superior senses -- my horse hears (or smells?) people long before we see them on the trail. Even my dog is not as alert as she is.
 

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And heck yes you caN charge a person on horseback. Of course the horse will not run over them but the person will think they will.

Once when I was a teenager 15 or 16 years old I was riding Tamar, the first and greatest of all my horses. Riding past a stand of dense pines, a naked long haired hippy man stepped out. I wa shocked to see this and drew back, which halted the horse. He put his arms around my hips and said Oh, you are so beautiful! Thank you I said and rode off.
 

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There are dog breeds out there which will defend without any training but the problem is that such dogs are not suited to being off leash (or out in public at all for some of them). Filla Brasilliera, Caucasian Ovcharka, Anatolian Shepard, Dogo Argentino, Central Asian Shepard, Boereboel... If you go out on trails in very remote places one of these breeds will absolutely defend you against wildlife and bad people but in populated areas they would be a huge liability off leash. All of these breeds were developed for large farms as guardians. Some are hunting dogs as well, and some are LGDs but all of them were also fearless and loyal guardians for the family without any fancy training. As a matter of fact, most of them are not easily trainable as one of their chief requirements was that they are independent and highly confident.

Our local LGD (Sharplaninac) is well known for defending people against bears and wolves. There have been some attacks on people but very few because general public is well aware of their nature and nobody tries to mess with their owners. And their owners are well aware of their nature and generally put safeguards in place to prevent accidents.

(Off topic - I absolutely hate this narrative that the owner makes a dog aggressive. Some breeds are aggressive - that was their purpose and those are their instincts. Nobody ever said that it's the owners fault that a hound chases after cats or that a pointer points at birds or that a retriever retrieves a ball. So some inexperienced people get a pit bull and think that all they need to do is refrain from teaching them to attack other dogs and they will have a great dog who loves all other dogs. Right. It's like saying that an Akhal Theke owner made their horse hot. Sure, you can slow down an Akhal Theke and you can - theoretically - train a pit bull not to attack other dogs but it is bloody hard work and it fails more often than not. Not all pit bulls are dog-aggressive but that was the purpose for the breed - what exactly do people expect from them? If you want a friendly dog, get a golden and be done with it.)
 

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Thanks for posting the video. Lots of good tips there!

I generally don't worry about self defense on the trail because I hardly ever see anyone else out there (I am not riding developed trails but a section of national forest near my home). So I hardly see anyone. But the tips in the video are good and I will try to remember them.

Most people I know who worry about such things carry a gun. I know one guy that even getting his horse gun-broke. I think that's fine, and it's good training for the horse. But I personally have never met anything, human or animal, riding trails for 20+ years, that I've felt I need to shoot. I try not to get close to sketchy people but of course it could happen. I've met a few bears and they've always run away. My biggest worry is vehicles on the roads and loose dogs! Think about the odds of what can get you killed on a horse.......I think loose dogs and reckless drivers are the bigger worry. BUT, of course that all depends on where you ride. If I rode busy trails in the city I might worry more about attackers. And then you still have vehicles and loose dogs to worry about too. :evil:
 

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I'm a big advocate for legally armed citizens. If you see me without a gun, it's because you don't see it not because I'm without it. That said, when you have the advantage of height and speed which a horse provides you, there aren't very many scenarios in which using a gun would be preferable to doing something else. Getting away is much easier on a horse than on foot and should always be your first choice. If I felt threatened (truly threatened, not just "this person is a little creepy") I wouldn't hesitate to use my reins or whip as I put my horse in motion. Ideally, I wouldn't let someone get close enough that I could even reach them with a whip. If your horse isn't properly trained you will likely make the situation worse, not better, by firing a shot. A panicked horse putting you on the ground with a broken arm isn't going to help. Situational awareness and having a plan are the very best self-defense. Watch what's coming up and consciously plan -- "Okay, if that person comes toward me I'm going to..." If something looks questionable, take a good deep seat and collect your reins so you can move out quickly under control. That person walking beside the trail may suddenly turn and start yelling and waving their arms in an effort to unseat you. If you carry a firearm, think ahead of the situations in which you might resort to it. I have made a conscious decision that the firearm is in case something develops while I'm on the ground, otherwise it's staying holstered. For anything that may happen while you're mounted, I don't think not having one puts a rider at significant disadvantage versus having one. Be aware, have a plan, get away.
 

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Local people living along the Elk river is SW Oregon have told me do not ride up on the forest roads without a gun. That is because of the druggies cooking methampheamine, etc.. I have always ridden to get away from people anyway. So I trailer way far up into the mountains to unload and ride. It is 5 adjoining natl. forests, total 11,780 square miles. This land is your land, this land is my land....
 

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I've never worried about black bears. Between Dreams walking and scraping his shoes on rocks, my music, my horribly off-key singing and the occasional shouted "Hey bear!" when I'm not listening to music, the two of us make enough noise to alert any wildlife out there that we're coming. Dreams has encountered several bears on the trail and he's always told me there's something there long before I had any idea about it, so I was prepared.

Grizzlies are what worry me. That's why we make the noise. I've never encountered one, on horseback or hiking, and if I never see a grizzly on a trail that's fine with me. We do have the occasional wolf out this way but I've yet to see one (and again, noise scares them away long before you'll see them). I have been actively stalked by a mountain lion, and that was a chilling experience. For those, unfortunately, it's all up to luck, because they're ambush predators and if they're after you you might not see them until they're in the saddle with you. And they can come from literally anywhere. May the odds be ever in your favor.

Moose are about the only thing that we see that I will desperately try to avoid. Nothing screams 'fun' like a gigantic ****ed-off moose crashing through the underbrush straight at your horse because you looked at it wrong. Those things are huge and the ones we have around here all have major attitude - we had one encounter where Dreams and I stopped to watch a small bull eating some water weeds and he decided he didn't want to share that particular valley and charged us. Not the rut, and we were well away - close to fifty yards, so far I had a hard time seeing him with my camera despite the light being excellent - he was just ANGRY. I've heard stories and seen video from folks around here getting chased up trees by moose, getting their vehicles kicked to shreds ... Montana moose are just mean. I'd rather encounter a bear.

As far as people go, we're lucky up here to have decent folks. Everybody I've ever met on the trail is happy to stop and chat about what the trail is like, whether I've seen any fish, how far to xyz, if the wildflowers are blooming, if they can pet my horse ... I've never felt uncomfortable around anyone. Of course, up here everyone on the trails is packing a pistol or bear spray or both, myself included, so that tends to deter would-be assailants. Growing up in Nevada I did have a situation where I used my horse to knock a guy over that came out of the bushes exposing himself - Mirage had just had new shoes put on and she gave him a pop that I'm pretty sure was intentional as she shoved him into the cactus beside the trail. We got out of there quick like and I gave her treats when we got home. : )

-- Kai
 

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One time I was in Montana in Yellowstone fishing. Along the stream was very tall grass and I smelled something dead. Hey look, there is a dead animal I said and stepped off the path toward it. My boyfriend grabbed me by the shoulder. Thats when I saw the Grizzly.

One reason I would pack heat is loose pitbulls. If they attacked my dog they would kill her and I would have to get into it. They are impervious to pain and would turn on me also. Thats why I would carry a gun in Oregon.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
In general we don’t have to worry too much about being attacked. There haven’t been any case and we live in a small town. But... sh*t happens everywhere. Lol. So I’m always on the lookout. I have stopped many times in the trails and talked to people. But it will depend on location and who it is. Maybe my extra vigilance has to do with my career as a medic and being exposed to more human crap than the average citizen.

In southern Ontario we don’t usually have too many encounters with dangerous wildlife. Loose dogs can be a problem. But haven’t had an issue with them. Despite the owners usually having zero control over some. Just by walking towards them they usually take off. The occasional bear on the news is no where near us. Although there have been some sighting of cougars over the years. Have a feeling that cougars are being introduced under the public radar, as apparently someone had one treed and the police told them to leave it alone and walk away.

I always keep a lookout on the surrounding and trust the horse if he plants his feet and refuses to go somewhere. However there have been instances where both my horse and dog were walking along blissfully unaware of a coyote trotting along side us maybe 200’ away on a open field, or deer standing in the bush close to the trail. I was like ‘hey guys’ aren’t you supposed to see those before me?!?!
 

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I have been riding for many years (61) and i have to say rarely had any problems riding out, many of those miles by myself.
We don't have a lot of wildlife maybe deer, turkeys or the coyote or fox.
Most people I meet on the trails are decent people out enjoying themselves as I am.

The one and only time I was really afraid, I have posted before but it's the scariest I have ever been
This happened many years ago, I had a big part draft gelding, when I got him he had some issues, one of them being afraid to step in water, I spent the summer working with him and he was doing fine.
We had a valley not far away with a trail going through with three water crossings and one weekend morning I went out for an early morning ride. Went to this valley and across the first two crossings, as I came up to the third one there was a car there and a man was standing outside, he said to his buddies " hey there's a girl" and the other two got out and called for me to come over. Since I was at the water I crossed to get away from them BUT it was a mistake as there was no way out and to leave I would have to come back past them. I went ahead and behind some bushes but they were calling out to me that I would have to come back. I didn't know what to do but thought I should get out of there and the only way was across and past them. I started out trotting up to the water, it was about 15 or 20 feet across but shallow with good footing. I planned to ask for a canter when i got closer to the water. Now remember this horse had been very afraid of water and I prayed he wouldn't stop on me.
As I approached I heard one say "grab the horse" so I gathered the reins right up, took two good handfuls of mane and put the boots to Blue. That good horse did not fail me. We hit the water at a good canter, his ears right flat on his head and those big feet hitting the water and sending a huge spray out ahead of us. This made those characters jump away and we crossed the river and thundered on down the trail to the next crossing.
When I got Blue he had a little habit of running away with me so I told him if felt like running away it was just fine with me.

Now I don't believe he would have run any of them down but a charging horse (he was a big horse) is something to scare someone off if they don't know much about horses.
That was a long time ago and I have never had a bad experience since.
 
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