Chased by dogs hacking today. WWYD?

TheHairyOne

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Never thought Ineould be writing this as my horse has grown up around dogs of all kinds and as a general rule is completely unbothered by them.

However, today 6 of us when out and were on one of the bridle ways, only about 10 mins from the yard, with me up front, and 2 long haired white german shepards appeared in the on the single file path in front of us. So I stopped. Horse stood and watched. Dogs kept coming, barking, owner not in sight hollering. Dogs still coming, horse decided enough of this, spun and took off. Took all of the other horses with me. Sister ended up taking a tree in the face (split lip, but luckily that was the only injury) and one of the other riders managed to turn back around and rode back at the dogs (who had still kept coming) who were eventually caught.

I got off and led horse back as he was genuinley very worried, owner of dogs like it was a sunday morning hello, said something along the lines of 'sorry about that, they were only playing'. No query of were we ok (given that I was on foot!) and my response was not all that polite (which isnt normally me, but was pretty shaken up at this point, the bridle way comes out on a 60mph road). Ive no idea who she is, and didnt have my hat cam on, so no proof of this. But her dogs were seriously dangerous to us and she had NO control of them at all.

Could have been so much worse and am really hoping my horses confidence hasnt been too badly damaged. We see a lot of dogs, but never had this happen before. :(
 

Gingersmum

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What a nightmare - I would not have been pleased at all but glad to hear you are all ok.
What would I do ? Limited options really but I would warn all others on your yard.
Does your local area have a FB page ? perhaps post on there, warning others and possibly identifying owner and pointing out to her how she needs to control her dogs !
Perhaps also inform your local dog warden to see if they can help ?
If I was in this situation and in danger of falling off and the dogs weren't backing off I think I would get off and shout at the dogs - possibly even threaten them with my stick.
 

FfionWinnie

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We get this all the time. Horse has to stand its ground facing the dogs and I shout in my best dog trainer voice AH AH and they usually bog off. It’s amazing how owners don’t like you shouting at their dog tho. Had 5 off lead boxers attack us when I was hacking a 4 yr old baby cob I’d had for a week, with my 8yr old child and they seemed to be offended I didn’t just let their dogs get their faces kicked in? (Actually our horses don’t kick even when deserved, but I did not know if the cob had met such unruly dogs or indeed any dogs!).

I wear a head cam at all times now and report every incident to the dog warden.
 

PapaverFollis

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I'd have definitely seen red at the "they were only playing" comment. Ugh.

Report it to the dog warden and Bhs as others have said. I really need to start wearing a camera on hacks too.
 

pennyturner

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OP, I know you said your horses aren't usually bothered, so this was probably just bad luck but at the end of the day, these dogs were accompanying someone down a path, and had a perfect right to be there. They didn't attack your horse.

Yes, they should have had better recall, but they really didn't do anything terribly wrong. You just lost control of your horse. Could just as easily have been spooked by a bike, or a man in a hat.
 

FfionWinnie

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OP, I know you said your horses aren't usually bothered, so this was probably just bad luck but at the end of the day, these dogs were accompanying someone down a path, and had a perfect right to be there. They didn't attack your horse.

Yes, they should have had better recall, but they really didn't do anything terribly wrong. You just lost control of your horse. Could just as easily have been spooked by a bike, or a man in a hat.
The horse shouldn’t have spooked however its not acceptable to allow dogs to be out of control, out of sight and unable to be recalled in *any* situation. That’s covered under the dangerous dog act.
 

Luci07

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OP, I know you said your horses aren't usually bothered, so this was probably just bad luck but at the end of the day, these dogs were accompanying someone down a path, and had a perfect right to be there. They didn't attack your horse.

Yes, they should have had better recall, but they really didn't do anything terribly wrong. You just lost control of your horse. Could just as easily have been spooked by a bike, or a man in a hat.
The dogs were on a bridle way. This means the horse has legal right of way and it is now an offence to have your dogs out of control in a public place. I have dogs myself so have looked into this.
 

3Beasties

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My go to tactic when dogs run at me now is to turn my horse around and charge him at the dogs. Every single time the dogs have backed straight down, even the pack of 4 farm collies that are used with cows.
 

Cinnamontoast

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Mine likes to prance around when faced with loose dogs and will charge. I will let him. I'm absolutely fed up of protecting my dogs from other dogs whose owners have failed to teach a solid recall, so I have little sympathy.
 

pennyturner

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The dogs could have been under control and still have spooked the horses. How about if they'd been on the lead and barking? Much better to focus on training the horses so that next time you pass something 'scary' everyone is safe.
 

GirlFriday

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It is a difficult one as mostly standing/advancing ground will work but every so often doing that results in hospitalisation... although trying to out-pace a dog that is really in 'attack' mode may not be the best idea. So, carry a stick next time? (Assuming you know horse is fine with them/can make sure they get to be).
 

rascal

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This is the only reason I carry a stick, had several dogs chase us, once was right underneath our then young horse, ignoring stupid owner who said he would see us in court if his dog was kicked by our out of control horse.
 

GirlFriday

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The dogs could have been under control and still have spooked the horses. How about if they'd been on the lead and barking? Much better to focus on training the horses so that next time you pass something 'scary' everyone is safe.
Don't disagree with training horses to deal calmly with things they are likely to meet but do think dog owners need to be able to prevent their animals coming into direct contact with other animals (and humans) where necessary.
 

little_critter

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Don't disagree with training horses to deal calmly with things they are likely to meet but do think dog owners need to be able to prevent their animals coming into direct contact with other animals (and humans) where necessary.
Agree, what if those dogs had been 'just playing' and ignoring recall while chasing a flock of sheep. They could be shot.
Sounds like the OPs horse is normally fine with dogs, it's a big ask for a horse to stand it's ground while 2 good size dogs are chasing it and barking.
The dog owner is not blameless here. The dogs should either have perfect recall or not be allowed to get so far ahead that they can't be quickly put on a lead if they show signs of misbehaving.
 
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The dogs could have been under control and still have spooked the horses. How about if they'd been on the lead and barking? Much better to focus on training the horses so that next time you pass something 'scary' everyone is safe.
PT, I have interaction with dogs every time I ride as its a very busy area.
My mounts are all trained to be steady when passing dogs of all shapes and sizes, on and off lead.
However, in the OP's instance, this was a pair of loose dogs and interaction with horses (who as you know are creatures of flight by nature) was more than a 'normal' thing to occur.

I have been bogged off with by my previous horse who was a rock steady mount - go anywhere easily - when a Great Dane charged him & after the 2nd time it put its feet up on his shoulder (despite me whacking it with hunting whip!) dear old boy decided we needed to get out of the area. Couldn't blame him either!

Yes, we train our horses to respond to our training in all sorts of occurrences, BUT you can never always replicate something that is out of the ordinary as in the OP's case at top.
 
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TheresaW

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Years ago, a horse from my yard killed a dog in the forest. Guy was hacking out when a dog came running out of the trees and launched itself at the horses chest. The rider got off and pulled the dog away. Owner of dog came up minutes later, took the dog, so rider went on his way. Dog came flying back for another go, got kicked and killed.
 

Amymay

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OP, I know you said your horses aren't usually bothered, so this was probably just bad luck but at the end of the day, these dogs were accompanying someone down a path, and had a perfect right to be there. They didn't attack your horse.

Yes, they should have had better recall, but they really didn't do anything terribly wrong. You just lost control of your horse. Could just as easily have been spooked by a bike, or a man in a hat.
B&ll&cks
 

meleeka

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I’m always surprised at how little regard some people have for their beloved pets safety! My dog (JRT) has a dodgy recall and is never off the lead, because I just couldn’t bear it if anything happened to her. I’ve had dog owners almost hysterical because their dog could get hurt but they really ought to be more careful before they get in that situation.

I don’t think you can train a horse for situations like this. All ours are well used to dogs, but on one occasion a border collie cane out of a bush barking and snarling at just the wrong time and spooked a friends young horse. He took off back the way he came and another friends horse followed. Both friends were knocked off by a tree branch and both horses were loose. We found them on a farmers field in a distressed state and one friend was injured, all because some idiot, despite being on a bridleway well used by horses, couldn’t keep an eye on their dog. Neither horse has hacked out since.
 

dominobrown

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Agree they should be on leads, or under control. The dog owner is in the wrong, especially if they were out of her sight lke the OP stated. You can't train for every eventuality and my horses are excellent with dogs but have panicked when some b$tard let his strange dogs chase them in a field. Two large strange dogs chasing horse, most horses would panic. Not much you can do OP but I am afraid I would of given her a lecture too.
 

TheHairyOne

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Thank you for the links. I will report it, though asking around it would appear that we are not the first ones to meet this pair.

I am genuinely intersted in how/what you would do to better train though.

We were riding towards the dogs and owner and did what I would normally do and that is stop and wait for dog owner to get dogs. Which she obviously failed to do. So horses didnt spook as they werent surprised by them. My horse ran a risk assessment and decided nope, not hanging about for this as the dogs kept on coming at us. He didnt bolt, I had steering and he was very much aware of his surroundings and was easy enough to pull up once we'd got out of the melee of horses but i am not sure i could have done much about the spin.

I am not sure what set the reaction off. He is very good with dogs. I often hack at the weekend in our local forestry commission land, and if he wasnt that would be no fun at all! I got back to the yard and there were 5 loose dogs about. I can only think it was the narrowness of the track (no where to go forwards), or the fact that it looked like one huge thing with 2 heads coming at us, or just a bad day.

I am sorry other people have had issues, but thankful that it doesnt seem to have affected your horses long term?
 

Crugeran Celt

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The horse shouldn’t have spooked however its not acceptable to allow dogs to be out of control, out of sight and unable to be recalled in *any* situation. That’s covered under the dangerous dog act.
Horses spook, to say it shouldn't have is ridiculous. My horse is very used to my dogs running in their fields and completely ignores them even if they squeeze through their legs in the gate ways but if a strange dog gets into their field it is immediately obvious that the horses are unsettled. If you are walking dogs on a bridle way then surely it is common sense to keep them in sight so that if this happens the owner can react immediately and if dogs have a poor recall then they should be kept on a lead on a bridle way. It's just using a bit of common sense.
 

Gloi

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My go to tactic when dogs run at me now is to turn my horse around and charge him at the dogs. Every single time the dogs have backed straight down, even the pack of 4 farm collies that are used with cows.
I do that too when they are being a pain, ride at them at speed and they soon scarper.
 

FfionWinnie

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Horses spook, to say it shouldn't have is ridiculous. My horse is very used to my dogs running in their fields and completely ignores them even if they squeeze through their legs in the gate ways but if a strange dog gets into their field it is immediately obvious that the horses are unsettled. If you are walking dogs on a bridle way then surely it is common sense to keep them in sight so that if this happens the owner can react immediately and if dogs have a poor recall then they should be kept on a lead on a bridle way. It's just using a bit of common sense.
You may accept horses spooking and running away possibly causing an accident as completely fine and to be accepted. I do not. Many others do not. Personally I would be setting the horse up with some training to ensure it would face up to dogs / whatever else and do what it was told.

If we accept that horses can just spook and run off when they feel like it, we are opening ourselves up to being killed or killing someone else.

Loose horses in a field are not the same as a horse under saddle and in (should be!) control of a rider.
 

meleeka

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Sorry, you may accept horses spooking and running away possibly causing an accident as completely fine and to be accepted. I do not. Many others do not. Personally I would be setting the horse up with some training to ensure it would face up to dogs / whatever else and do what it was told.

If we accept that horses can just spook and run off when they feel like it, we are opening ourselves up to being killed or killing someone else.
That’s why horse riding is considered a risk! They are animals, not machines. Of course we can train them to accept things they may encounter, but you can’t turn them into machines with no mind of their own. Even a horse at the trooping of the colour spooked once and I’m sure they are better trained not to spook than most.
 

Pinkvboots

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The dogs could have been under control and still have spooked the horses. How about if they'd been on the lead and barking? Much better to focus on training the horses so that next time you pass something 'scary' everyone is safe.
sorry but most horses would react to 2 strange dogs barking and running towards them they are flight animals for Chris sake you can't train that out of them no matter what you do.

out of control dogs killed my friends horse on a hack she was so scared my friend fell of and they chased her for some time until she crashed into a gate and broke her leg, I would report anyone with dogs that bark or run at horses, I do tell a lot of dog owners that my horse kicks it tends to make them put them on a lead but useless if owner is nowhere to be seen.
 

FfionWinnie

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That’s why horse riding is considered a risk! They are animals, not machines. Of course we can train them to accept things they may encounter, but you can’t turn them into machines with no mind of their own. Even a horse at the trooping of the colour spooked once and I’m sure they are better trained not to spook than most.
Driving a car is a risk that’s why there are certain things done and not done to mitigate the risk.

If you have an incident where your horse spooks and runs off out of control (ie you cannot stop it within a few strides) and you do not consider the horse needs further training to enable it to cope with a situation, then you are negligent in the extreme.

A barking dog is NOT enough of an excuse for a horse to take flight. There are barking out of control dogs everywhere. As I said it’s a daily occurance for me. I hate it and I hate the people who think it’s acceptable to allow their dogs to do this BUT I have trained my horses to stand their ground or if necessary advance on the dogs to protect ourselves.

I can’t actually believe people think it’s acceptable for a horse to run away out of control from something as mundane as a barking dog. If that is the case then you must also accept that barking out of control dogs are just following their instincts too!
 

Tiddlypom

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I suspect that the OP's horse could read dog language (aggressive intent), and after getting the message, decided that retreat was the wisest course of action.

Yes, we should train our horses well, but sometimes instinct will take over. OP, I'm glad that no harm was done, but please do report these dogs.
 
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