How to deal with slightly unpleasant, loose dogs from horseback?

Jesstickle

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Afternoon wise dog people.

I have recently returned from a rather 'interesting' ride/chase loose horses round the village and I wondered, for future reference, how the hell to deal with loose dogs attacking/chasing horses.

Today a loose staffie came running up to us and started biting horse number 1's heels. Horse 1 freaked obviously, kicked the dog, stepped on it and eventually lost the rider and beggared off. Both of us shouted at it but it ignored us. I chased it down on horse 2 with the dog chasing me initially but then we out ran it, got off and had hold of both of them from the floor when the stupid dog reappeared and starting going at the horse's legs again. I cracked it with my schooling whip (sorry, no idea what else to do so it seemed sensible at the time) but it made naff all difference and eventually the horses both got away from me and took off again. The dog ran after them but eventually they out ran it and it must have got bored/been injured whatever as we got them back in the end.

Anyway, my question is really how should I have dealt with the situation? Is there a good or bad way of dealing with these situations or was it always going to end this way?
 

Amymay

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I'm not sure what you could have done any better in that situation. Sounds pretty frightening.

Have you reported it to the police? Was there any sign of an owner?
 

Jesstickle

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yeah, the police spoke to the owner. It had apparently escaped from the garden. I hope it is retrieved (owner still looking when we were on the way home) as I'd hate it to chase some other poor sod and it probably needs a trip to the vet as it must be hurt I would think.

I hear so many things about what you should and shouldn't do, I just wondered if there was some kind of magic cure for stopping this sort of thing happening. We're really quite lucky the horses are in one piece I think!

ETS: no owner whilst it was all happening, he appeared later on!
 

stencilface

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That sounds horrendous :(

I've no idea what you could have done, aside from hitting the dog harder, or one of the horses could have helped out and booted the dog for you. Any idea who's the dog was?

I have been the dog owner in this situation after mine got away, he didn't attack, it was all a big game of chase to him, but needless to say I was mortified and apologised profusely to the riders who luckily for me were understanding. Needless to say dog was kept tightly under wraps from then on, at least til he could be relied on to remember his name :)
 

Amymay

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To be honest, once a dog's on the attack there's little you can do.

A similar thing happened to me many years ago (albeit with a Yorkshire terrier). Despite my warning to the owner that it would get seriously hurt if it continued to 'attack' my horse, they took no action. It was kicked and killed instantly.
 

Tiddlypom

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What an awful thing to happen, Jesstickle. I can't think what else you could have done.

Be interested to hear if anyone has got any further advice. Horse riders have always had to contend with annoying loose dogs but recently there seem to have a been a big rise in serious dog on horse attacks.

Glad all the neds seem to be ok, must have been terrifying for all concerned.
 

Jesstickle

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I am quite used to getting chased, it happened a lot at my old yard, and it is annoying BUT I always put up with it because it was never really dangerous, just irritating. Today was sort of different though!

It must have been kicked at least twice, and stepped on and it just wouldn't give up. I had no idea what I should or shouldn't be doing. I assumed it would have given up once we were out of sight rather than followed us and started up again :/

Would love one of the wise dog trainers ( I know we have several) to give me some suggestions of things I can try next time. I felt a bit hopeless stood there with two horses and a dog going at them. Would be good to have tools in the box.
 

Dobiegirl

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Carry a hunting whip, I got flamed once before for suggesting this, a few years ago when exercising hounds it was not unusual for dogs to come running out of open driveways or farm yards to have a go at the hounds or horses. A quick flick across their back did the trick and as we often exercised on the same routes we would see the dogs lying in the gateways and you only had to say get out of it and they would slink back in. You have to be adept with a hunting whip though so get practising.
 

Jesstickle

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do they hurt a lot more than a schooling whip then? I've had a whack with a schooling whip and it left me with a raised welt but if a hunting whip hurts more than I'll try that. I have only ever used mine for opening gates!
 

twiggy2

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it is so hard when things happen like that as it is different in every situation, personally I try to turn the horse to face the dog and stay still till the dog looses interest-the other week we were stood in the road for nearly ten minutes men facing south a car facing north and a dog stood in the middle barking at the horse-however I have never been attacked just has excited/scared dogs that want to play or chase so they are not biting.

possibly I would have not chased horse 1 but stood still on horse 2 in the hope the dog would not chase horse 1 either and that would have given the opportunity for the situation to calm down and your friend (if not injured) to get hold of the dog.

If I sit calmly my horse will calm down too and most dogs lose interest-it is not easy in the heat of the moment though.

sounds like a stressful ride-hope everyone is ok
 
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Agree with the hunting whip (as said to you on FB too JS).
Multi choice tool :)
Great for flicking away dogs, also for cracking to scare off (horse must be ok to do this).
Have really used mine hard on an errant staffie x last year after all warnings were not heeded - between that & BF who kicked 7 bells out of it, we managed to lose it....

Can also use lash to tie onto collar of lost-stray dog & bingo - long lead.
Also can use handle for hooking into lots of things- gate catches, dog collars, reins on mates horse......

Has the dog been found yet?

ps: am not a dog hater at all just dont currently have one, but will defend my Fuzzy every time
 

MissTyc

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Considering the panic of the moment it sounds like you did everything you could.
My 3yo was "attacked" by three dogs from all sides while I was walking her along a bridleway in hand (not yet backed, just showing her the world surrounding home). Two dog owners were laughing, they thought it was hilarious. My mare was rearing and kicking - in the end luckily all ended well, but one of the dogs was sent home with a bad limp from the hip and my filly's hi viz boots had a huge tear in them where she'd kicking herself. It was terrifying and what can you do? I tried to stay calm and kept saying GO AWAY to the dogs. I didn't want to scream and shout and a) rile the dogs on and b) upset my filly. But ugh ... Luckily for the dogs of this world, she did not hold a grudge against dogkind, but it could so easily have turned her into a worse horse than she woke up that morning.

Glad you and the horses are ok x
 

Tiddlypom

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MissTyc, that's awful. How on earth did the dogs' owners find that amusing?

I'm liking the idea of carrying a hunting whip. Can reach an attacking dog whilst still on horseback. (Only talking about a dog that is actually going to have a go at the horse, absolutely NOT one that just bounces around wanting to play). It's one of those things that you have with you but hope not to have to use.

I have a hunting whip somewhere, I will try and dig it out. *Plans session standing on mounting block trying to crack whip*.
 
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It must have been kicked at least twice, and stepped on and it just wouldn't give up.

I felt a bit hopeless stood there with two horses and a dog going at them. Would be good to have tools in the box.
Gosh OP this sounds awful, don't know what TF else you could have done TBH. IF the dog was kicked and still kept on in "attack" mode, it was probably fired up on adrenaline which will only put it into more of attack mode, that's the way dogs are, it probably didn't even feel the good booting it had.

There's another thread on here about a horse rider with a head-cam and a dog barking at her horse; nothing like what happened to you happened to her tho', but there are too many numpty dog owners out there who either don't (a) know where there dog is (b) couldn't give a stuff anyway and (c) even if they ARE there to see it are so plain stoopid that they think "oh isn't it nice, doggy's having a game".

I would report this to the local dog warden; perhaps ask him/her if they could make a special effort to remind any dog owners they come into contact with to make sure their dogs are firmly under control when horses are around. Don't be embarrassed to ask them to do this, it IS their job after all FFS.

Hope you're OK OP, this sort of thing can really shake one up. Think you've deserved a stiff drink tonight!

Sorry PS have just read the "hunting whip" suggestion........ sounds a brilliant idea; might give it a try!
 

Chestnut horse

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What an awful experience, I think you handled it very well not a lot else you could have done. Unfortunately when certain breeds of dog are in attack mode not much can put them off. One thing I have tried in the past with success is a water pistol, may sound odd but dogs really dislike water in their face, it has to be quite powerful but it does work. Unfortunately there are so many very very stupid dog owners who think it's a hoot for their dog to chase a horse, it could end with a very nasty accident. Just thought maybe pepper spray is another option, as long as the wind isn't blowing towards you and your horse. Good Luck.
 

CorvusCorax

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Carry a can of compressed air or a length of rope or spare slip lead to lead or tether the loose dog. Unfortunately when your hands are full with two other very large (prey) animals, making a scene is not advised and your options are limited. Even with a dog on dog attack, there's saying and there's doing and it's hard to think clearly when there's another animal trying to attach itself to yours, do you protect your own or get stuck into the aggressor.
 

Jesstickle

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I would ride in a pink tutu carrying an elephant if it would avoid further rides like todays!

Poor horse only arrived yeaterday pm, he must think he's joined the mad house :p

Right, whip and spare dog lead and super soaker will all be packed for the next hack. Good job I have big pockets on my coat.

Poor woofer. I do hope it is ok :(
 

pippixox

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i ride on a common with loads of dogs, it is often the terrier types that completely forget recall and snap at ankles. it is so dangerous, especially as there is also a herd of wild ponies and cows where i ride. personally we try to stand still to give owners a chance to get there dog to return and reduce likelihood of chase, but sometimes we decide to canter off as dog then has hooves flying in their face and normally gives up. hunting whip sounds great but think my horse would freak!
 

its_noodles

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we did get chased by dogs many times on the beach but they could never catch us...sometimes i did wish them to get a bit closer so the poor horse could give them a good kicking...
 

Jesstickle

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I'll be honest, I didn't really want to get that near to it. It had no collar on and I'm not entirely sure what it would have done. And I would have had to let go of the horses to scruff it. Which actually may have been better but at the time I had already chased one down and didn't want to let go!

I'm sure it wouldn't have bitten me but it had a big mouth!
 

Jules19

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And there was me searching for 'dangerous dogs', great minds and all that Jess! I am also trying to think what we could have done differently, in fact I spent the entire of last night thinking about what we could have done differently but still none the wiser. We were actually at halt when the dog kicked off, there was literally no provocation for the attack. Think this is going to stick with me for some time, although both horses appear to be none too bothered about the dogs at the yard, so fingers crossed they haven't been mentally scarred!

I think the only thing I could come up with was just to kick and go, but that is easier said than done, and until I saw it running after you all I wouldn't have bet on whether a horse was quicker than it (plus I know I would have worried about charging off across farmers fields without permission, although the horses did that for us later :p)
 

Jesstickle

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Well, on the plus side I'm not sure we did anything wrong, good to know, on the downside it seems that apparently you can't really do anything when they're like that. Hmm.

was definitely hoping someone was going to have a magical answer for disturbed dogs randomly deciding to badger nice horses!

O and hi!!
 
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Spudlet

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I would turn and ride at the dog hard - often, they will realise 'blimey, that's bigger than a rabbit' and change their minds, whereas if you run, their instinct is always to chase. This has worked for me in the past.

Grabbing it would probably have been a mistake, as it would have been very easy for the dog to twist and go for you instead if it was really revved up (I've done it myself to break up a fight, and got away with it - only afterwards did I think 'well that was a daft thing to do wasn't it?!' so I know how hard to can be to think in the heat of the moment).

I would also definitely find some nice, well-behaved dogs and do a bit of practising riding around them, just so your horses get their confidence back. Maybe even practice walking towards the dogs so your horses are happy to do this if it happens again.
 

_GG_

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I'll be honest, I didn't really want to get that near to it. It had no collar on and I'm not entirely sure what it would have done. And I would have had to let go of the horses to scruff it. Which actually may have been better but at the time I had already chased one down and didn't want to let go!

I'm sure it wouldn't have bitten me but it had a big mouth!
Yes, there are ways to deal with dogs in this situation but none of them come with any guarantees and to be perfectly honest, I would never ever advise anyone how to do it over the internet. If you know what you're doing, great, go for it, but if you don't and you can't read the dog properly you can end up getting very badly hurt as a dog in this frame of mind is not to be messed about with or taken on by someone that isn't extremely confident in what they are doing.

Any advise you may get that involves interaction with the dog over what you did anyway I would honestly ignore. In the heat of the moment, unless it is second nature to you, you don't want to be trying anything other than reacting to what is happening at the time and I think you handled it the best way you could given the situation you were in.

It's not the dogs fault, it is the owners fault. Even when a dog breaks out of a garden, it is an owners responsibility to socialise their dogs so that they don't get so worked up by other animals. That said, it is the dog that you have to deal with and I truly believe you have every right to protect your horses and yourself.

It sounds like it was terrifying for you so I hope you, your friend and the horses are ok and I hope the dog is ok too...but that his owners have had a big fat dose of reality!
 

_GG_

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Well, on the plus side I'm not sure we did anything wrong, good to know, on the downside it seems that apparently you can't really do anything when they're like that. Hmm.

was definitely hoping someone was going to have a magical answer for disturbed dogs randomly deciding to badger nice horses!

O and hi!!
Not magical, but not safe unless you really do know what you're doing. On the horse, yes, riding hard towards them can work. Running can create a chase situation, but horses being horses will run and when panicked, there isn't much we can do. If you know what you're doing, you can stop it if you see the dog early enough without having to have any contact with it but as I said, you really need to know what you're doing and if you don't, you can be badly hurt, so if it happens again, honestly, I would advise you to again just do what you have to do.
 
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