The pairing of dogs and horses comes from a long and illustrious history and from cow-dogs to coach dogs, the two have been paired for hundreds of years, for social and work uses. From fox hunting to herding, there are many reasons and examples of dogs and horses working well together and it has long been said that certain breeds, from Corgi’s and Terriers to Dalmatians and Beagles have a certain affinity with horses.
Now, you may have none of the above breeds or uses but still want to walk your horse and dog at the same time or enjoy their company simultaneously and that’s great news! With the right considerations and a little bit of training, there’s no reason why all three of you can’t enjoy a great time.
The Requirements for a Ride along Dog
If you want to be able to take your dog on walks with you and your horse, you’ll need to be able to count on a few things from your dog. Although your horse’s behaviour is important, you’ll either be sitting on or leading him and will have more control. Your dog however will for the most part be walking alone and so his training is more important. You’ll need to be assured that he can remain calm around livestock and be able to take commands from you as you ride. He’ll also need to be physically calm and not easily spooked or distracted.
The Requirements of a Ride along Horse
Just because you’re sitting on your horse, don’t take his behaviour for granted. You’ll also need to ensure he’s calm enough not be get easily spooked, is easily controlled and reacts well to you and your commands. Consider the relationship the two of you have before going from a duo to a trio. Carry out adequate research when looking for a horse or pony for sale.
Before you try getting the three of you together, it’s essential that you’ve perfected individual training. At the very least, your dog should understand stay, sit, lie down and be able to come back at command because you will be counting on him to walk without a lead or a harness. Obedience classes are a great way or preparing him. Furthermore, you need to be able to trust your horse to listen and respond to your commands, and allow you to calm him if he does get upset or agitated.
What Your Dog Needs to Do
It almost goes without saying that all three of you could be injured if either the dog or the horse does not behave as you expect. You may need to throw in a few extra commands and practice these before setting off. Try adding “get out” which will tell him to move out farther and wider so as not to get underfoot of either you or the horse and practice obedience in the safety of the paddock. Before you go out into the open with the two animals, it’s a great idea to get them comfortable and confident with each other and ready for what is to come.
Linda Carter has a family of four, blogs on animals, horses for loan, pets and farm life.SHARE