When you’re an animal lover, nothing in the world beats spending time with your four-legged friends. But how can you choose between long, leisurely rides with your horse and rambling country walks with your dog?
What if we told you you don’t have to choose?
Despite their size difference, horses and dogs can be great friends. But it takes patience and care to develop that relationship.
Keep reading for our top three tips on taking safe and rewarding adventures with your horse and your dog at the same time.
1. Build a Friendship Between Your Horse and Your Dog
While jumping into a ride with your horse and dog right away might be tempting, this isn’t the recommended course of action. It’s crucial to develop the relationship between the pair slowly and intentionally.
Start by bringing your dog along to the stables while you muck out or do chores. Your horse will develop an awareness of your dog’s size and relative fragility – remember, no matter how big your dog is, being stepped on or kicked could be lethal.
Make sure you know your dog’s potential triggers and what causes dog aggression so you never put your dog or horse in danger. You don’t want to put either animal in an uncomfortable position – it’s a lot more difficult to rebuild trust once it’s been broken.
Take it slow and easy, and build the relationship step by step.
2. Leave the Leash at Home
One of the most tempting things to do if you aren’t totally confident taking your dog and horse out on a ride together is to keep your dog on the leash.
We’re about to tell you something you probably don’t hear often: for dog-and-pony rides, it’s essential to choose a place to roam where you know your dog will be safe off-leash. This is because your dog could get tangled in an obstacle or get startled and drag you off your horse.
Your horse could also spook, and you could end up dragging your puppy along, or both could freak out at the same time and try to run in opposite directions. What’s more, you or your horse could land on your dog.
The best course of action is to keep your dog off-leash.
3. Practice Walking Them Together
Before you ride off into the sunset, ease into it by walking your horse on a lead rein and your dog on a leash beside each other.
Start off in a riding arena since your horse will feel at ease in familiar surroundings. Consider having a friend there to help assist at the beginning.
Remember to reward your animals for remaining calm to encourage good behavior. Once you’ve practiced like this a few times, you can try it mounted with your dog off-leash. Again, having a person on the ground who can step in if necessary is a good idea.
Once you’re comfortable in the arena, repeat these steps on a safe, short trail and see how you get on. Don’t hesitate to bring someone with you – your safety and your animals’ safety is paramount.
Off You Trot!
But not too fast. Take your time and pay attention to your animal companions’ behavior to ensure they’re both feeling comfortable with the training. Remember, developing a solid interspecies relationship takes patience and practice.
To keep yourself motivated, think about all the adventures you’ll be able to go on with your four-legged best friends at the end of the process! Your companions will be as thrilled as you are to discover new horizons and explore new trails together.
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