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View Full Version : Trail Riding with my Dog On-leash; Advice Please?



Candle
Oct. 28, 2009, 05:33 PM
At our old barn, my dog was allowed to be off-leash and would trot around the field and/or ring and exercise herself (politely) while I rode. I've got a few health issues that makes it so I'm not able to take her out for walks every day, so the old barn was great in that regard. However at the new barn, it backs up to a ton of great trails, but all dogs MUST be leashed. I was thinking of making something up with a dowel rod to make a stiff leash so that she can't get ahead of us or underfoot of my horse while I ride, but I'm not convinced that this is a good plan. Does anyone have any good ideas for riding with a dog that must be on a leash?

RxCate
Oct. 28, 2009, 05:39 PM
don't do it - this is just a huge accident waiting to happen -

Cloverbarley
Oct. 28, 2009, 05:44 PM
I would never ride out with a dog on a leash. Loose? Yep I ride out with mine frequently but I'd never have them on a leash.

JenRose
Oct. 28, 2009, 05:50 PM
I agree - don't do it!

I cannot think of any safe way to make it work.

WorthTheWait95
Oct. 28, 2009, 05:51 PM
Advice?

Don't do it!

katarine
Oct. 28, 2009, 05:51 PM
field trialers do it when training dogs, but it's a tough proposition to do this on trails and not out in the open. Personally I just wouldn't want to deal with it.

If you just 'have to' - then short (like 1' or so) sections of small hollow pvc pipe with the rope leash threaded through it, makes more sense. Like a string run through uncooked ziti noodles, LOL- so it flexes but can't utterly collapse and wrap round a leg in a wreck if you need to drop the line.

Your horse has to be rope broke entirely to ropes around his/her legs and under their tail, 100%.

Good luck.

Borrowed from a field trial web site:

Roading is another skill that the field trial horse must master. Roading is a method to condition a dog. You put a dog in a harness and attach a thirty-foot rope to the harness from the saddle. Some people have purchased a field trial or trooper saddle and did not know what the tab in the back of the saddle was for, that is what the dog is attached to. Some people attach the rope to the rings in front of the saddle. The dog is encouraged to lean into the rope and harness and pull hard. The rider and horse follow. Thirty minutes of roading is the equivalent of an hour of free running. The dog usually stays out in front of the horse so the horse must tolerate the rope crossing over his chest as the dog moves from the left to the right. Roading is also used to excite and educate the dogs. In American Field Trails you can road dogs in the gallery behind the dogs in a brace. The dogs being roaded becomes fired up by watching the other dogs work as the gun is fired and the bird is flushed. Roading is also used when a dog messes up and you are far out on the course but the judge has ordered you up, you can road the dog back to the club house. A dog that has been lost on the course and later found can be roaded back to not interfere with the new brace of dogs.

On one occasion at a Brittany trail in Kentucky a handler lost his dog on the course. Sometime later, during another brace, the dog was found tied in the front yard of a nearby house. The people who owned the house had kindly tied the dog in the front yard, knowing from past experience that someone from the trial would notice and pick up the dog. We rode over through some brush and through a drainage ditch then across the road to get to the house.

The man I was with had a Dun Paso Fino and he had 30 foot of check cord or rope. He retrieved the dog and attached him to the rope and we started back across the road and through the drainage ditch. Then into the brush, where there was a narrow deer trail with just enough room for one animal to pass through at a time. The dog ended up behind the horse and was actually bumping against the horses’ hocks as we walked through. The rope was across the horse's chest from the right side, the dog having passed to the left of the horse before we entered the brush and back around to his back end. SO the dog has wrapped almost all the way around the horses body. We proceeded through the brush this way, until we got out into the open, where the dog swung around in front of the horse. That horse never missed a beat. He simply gaited on through with the dog bumping off his hocks. These are the kind of things expected of a field trial horse!

Buffyblue
Oct. 28, 2009, 05:56 PM
I think that sounds totally dangerous to all involved. Sorry. If you can't walk the dog and need her to get more exercise, you might want to check into getting a treadmill. I'm thinking about doing that myself, since I have three days where I work long hours and it's impossible to get any quality exercise in with my dogs. I am hoping to find one used that is not too big either! Good luck!

BuddyRoo
Oct. 28, 2009, 06:35 PM
I've done it w/o issues.

But. My dog already knew to "heel" to my hip on horseback and my horse was used to ponying other horses and didn't mind the dog. The main thing is not to use something so long that you're going to get all tangled.

Foxtrot's
Oct. 28, 2009, 07:32 PM
Potentially dangerous if the rope gets tangled up, or under the tail. Dog could get hung.
I've have seen it done.

Guin
Oct. 28, 2009, 08:02 PM
Adding my NO to everyone else's. WAY too dangerous.

LegalEagle
Oct. 28, 2009, 10:04 PM
Get a really short leash, hook it to the collar, and let the dog go..it's on a leash!
Just kidding, but if you are out on the trails by yourself who would really know? Is the dog small enough to ride in your lap until you're out of view?

Meredith Clark
Oct. 28, 2009, 10:24 PM
When I go to the barn I'm at currently I'll hook my dog to a tree or somewhere out of the way. She doesn't get to "run free" but the sights and smells still simulate her and she's more tired than if she had been sitting on the couch all day.

I don't think it's polite to let a dog run loose in most cases, even if the barn owners say it's ok. You never know what horse isn't going to be ok with it, what person might come to the barn (my dog is big and she can knock people over with out meaning too) or what other dog might show up.

Usually when i'm done with the horses I'll take her for a walk around the farm or take her to the back field and let her run a bit. The only farm I let her "run free" is my friend's farm which she owns, with no boarders and is totally fenced with no-climb.

ReSomething
Oct. 29, 2009, 02:42 AM
I've done it but not really successfully. Very nice bombproof horse did her best not to step on the dog but at the end of the ride I felt as though I had aged 20 years, from fussing with the dog, reeling it in, etc.
Katarine's story about the horse all wound up in the rope is right on the mark.
If the dog could be convinced to run out in front and keep tension on the rope like a sled dog it might work, but mostly they keep wanting to circle back and get underfoot and oh my what a mess!

threedogpack
Oct. 29, 2009, 10:16 AM
Though I agree with the posters who say no, if you are going to do this, either teach the dog anti-targeting and keep the dog away from the horse or teach the dog to target the end of a pole, pvc pipe, dowel rod or something similar so he knows where you want him to be. Very similar to loose lead walking. This would be training intensive and moderately advanced, so if you aren't up to it.....leave the dog at home.

pj
Oct. 29, 2009, 11:24 AM
Get a really short leash, hook it to the collar, and let the dog go..it's on a leash!
Just kidding, but if you are out on the trails by yourself who would really know? Is the dog small enough to ride in your lap until you're out of view?

Don't get me wrong I love trail riding with my dog when it's ALLOWED but
The attitude of "do it anyhow if you want to" of many riders is what gets a lot of trails closed to us.
If you are fortunate enough to have trails please respect the trails and respect the rules of the trail.

lorilu
Oct. 29, 2009, 12:16 PM
Someone I know did this.
Ended badly - leash around horse legs.
Thankfully, she rides a saint of a horse.
The other horses with her were not so amused.

L

moonriverfarm
Oct. 29, 2009, 01:38 PM
Not being snarky, I promise, but I'd find time to walk my dog away from the barn. Sometimes you can't have the best of both worlds....a hard as you try.

greysandbays
Oct. 29, 2009, 01:51 PM
If your dog is a Great Dane or something like that, and your horse is under 15 hands and has more than its share of good sense, it might work without getting anybody killed. But a smaller dog and a bigger (or scatterbrained) horse? That would take some serious negotiation with both the horse and the dog -- and even then, you'd have to be lucky...

If I was going to try it, I'd want the "leash" to be something with some "hand" to it, like a lariat or something.

lcw579
Oct. 29, 2009, 01:52 PM
When you ride with the dog does it stay right with you or wander off?
Does it ever get aggressive with other dogs or will it continue on its way, following you if you should run into another dog?
Have you tried taking the dog and been caught?
Are you sure there aren't plenty of walkers back there with dogs off lead?

Around here there are plenty of parks where dogs are supposed to be on lead but it is a rule that is routinely ignored and nobody enforces it or cares. Not all of these are open to horses but same idea. So why don't you see if others are walking off lead and what the general feeling is.

I had a dog that followed me on trails in the state park when I was a kid. He was great and would either be right in front or right behind the horses and never even looked at another dog when we were out. State park becomes a National park and one day a park ranger says something to me about the dog not being on a leash. I looked at him and said "But I'm on a horse!" He didnt' have an answer for that, didn't tell me the dog couldn't come and people continued to bring their dogs along.

I know things are different now, and rules are enforced with more regularity but I think I would go for a ride or two with the dog and test the waters.

wendy
Oct. 29, 2009, 02:07 PM
they sell stiff bars to attach to bikes to hold dogs safely away from the bike; unless you can figure out how to attach one such device to your horse forget it. Leashed dog + horse = disaster waiting to happen.

the BEST way to exercise a dog: fetch. Any dog can be taught to fetch (some take longer than others). Buy a Chuck-it ball throwing device. Find a big, empty field. Go for it. You just stand there, dog runs hard. This is far better than leash-walking a dog next to a slow walking human.

Bogie
Oct. 29, 2009, 02:18 PM
Okay, flame suit on. I have ridden with my dog on a leash. I used to hack down the road to a park where I would release my dog. He was well behaved and generally would "heel" right next to my horse. My horse was very tolerant of dogs and wasn't bothered by the rope. My plan was to drop the leash/rope if it came to that.

However, it probably would have been smarter to hand walk dog and horse.

sisu27
Oct. 29, 2009, 03:28 PM
Okay, flame suit on. I have ridden with my dog on a leash. I used to hack down the road to a park where I would release my dog. He was well behaved and generally would "heel" right next to my horse. My horse was very tolerant of dogs and wasn't bothered by the rope. My plan was to drop the leash/rope if it came to that.

However, it probably would have been smarter to hand walk dog and horse.

Even when I had my best-ever Dobe who was horse proof and well behaved I didn't attemp this. I would hand walk both horse and dog across the road and into the woods before letting the dog go free. I thought about it and so many worst case scenarios popped into my head I decided it was not worth the risk.

mvp
Oct. 29, 2009, 04:22 PM
Apropos of my "ranch broke" to animals, I'd do it.

Ranch broke means that animals are taught to do jobs such that their lives are enlarged and improved. They can be taught to do just about anything given a smart, patient and consistent trainer, IMO. The OP should go for it!

Here's what I'd do:

First, I might rig up a collar for the dog with a "fuse"-- a length of twine that would break or a velcro section. No point in hanging your dog just to teach her something cool.

Then I might also get on of those cheesy, retractable leashes. They are plenty long and easily allow some immediate slack in case of an initial tangle.

After than I'd leash up the pup with my horse saddles in the ring. While standing still, I'd get on the horse and let the dog figure out where *not* to be while still. Do the same at a walk and later a trot. I think your dog will be smart enough to learn how to avoid your horse's feet when things are predictable.

Your biggest question will be about how to teach both animals how to be predictable. Do you trust you horse not to spook as a general rule? I'll be your dog is agile enough and smart enough to keep an eye on your horse's body and learn to keep a cushion of space around her.

Of course you must remember that almost any horse will, sooner or later, jump first and ask questions later if he feels he must save his own skin. While cruising in the ring, does your horse seem to keep an eye out for your dog? When you can turn toward your dog's side (say, the right) on a circle and both animals keep tabs on the other's position, I think you are ready to go out.

Once man, beast and beast know they will travel in triplicate and that it involves looking out for the other member of the team, I think that info will "stick" even in a spook-worthy situation. If nothing else, you can count on the fact that most horses don't like stepping on living things. I think it feels like jelly-fish-at-the-beach to them and, like us, they'll do anything to avoid the squish. Eeww.

BuddyRoo
Oct. 29, 2009, 05:03 PM
<snip> you can count on the fact that most horses don't like stepping on living things. I think it feels like jelly-fish-at-the-beach to them and, like us, they'll do anything to avoid the squish. Eeww.

True dat. Even my dog hating mare once scared the bloody heck out of me as we were galloping down a hill and a friend's dog got in our way and froze. She jumped the danged thing! JUMPED! All the while, I had my eyes closed and was just sure we were going to die that day. But we didn't.

wendy
Oct. 29, 2009, 05:09 PM
First, I might rig up a collar for the dog with a "fuse"-- a length of twine that would break or a velcro section. No point in hanging your dog just to teach her something cool.

Then I might also get on of those cheesy, retractable leashes. They are plenty long and easily allow some immediate slack in case of an initial tangle.


NO NO NO. Have you ever had your neighbor's stupid untrained little dog wrap his retractable leash around your legs? Those things CUT through flesh and clothing just like knives. Just imagining one wrapping around a horse's legs- cut through tendons and ligaments, slice n dice. And guess what's going to happen if that "twine" connecting dog to retractable leash breaks? the heavy metal snap on the retractable leash is going to come shooting at you at a great rate of speed and probably take your eye out, or at very least whap your horse really hard. Then you have a loose dog and a bolting horse.

BuddyRoo
Oct. 29, 2009, 05:12 PM
I think what she meant was that she could GIVE some length in the event is was necessary otherwise, keep it short.

I personally am fond of a leadrope as a leash. But that's mostly because I have a big dog and a short horse...so it works. :)

Hear_my_echo
Oct. 29, 2009, 09:40 PM
Sounds scary to me. :no:

InVA
Oct. 29, 2009, 09:47 PM
Advice?

Don't do it!

It will end in tears..!

Meredith Clark
Oct. 29, 2009, 11:06 PM
NO NO NO. Have you ever had your neighbor's stupid untrained little dog wrap his retractable leash around your legs? Those things CUT through flesh and clothing just like knives. Just imagining one wrapping around a horse's legs- cut through tendons and ligaments, slice n dice. And guess what's going to happen if that "twine" connecting dog to retractable leash breaks? the heavy metal snap on the retractable leash is going to come shooting at you at a great rate of speed and probably take your eye out, or at very least whap your horse really hard. Then you have a loose dog and a bolting horse.

I have a scar on the back of my knee from a retractable leash. I was walking the family golden retriever and another dog (unleashed and without owner) came running at us. She got scared and wrapped herself around me.

It's gross and I can't imagine what it could do to a tendon.

2DogsFarm
Oct. 30, 2009, 08:13 AM
Please.
Just.
Don't.

There are too many variables and potential dangers unless you are training for field trials there is no point in exposing your dog, horse or self to any of them.

I have had:
1-unleashed dogs run underneath my horse on trail
2-brainless co-boarders allow their dogs loose in an indoor while both of us were riding
3-been "herded" on trails by someone else's unleashed dog

None of the above were any fun & in the cases of 1 & 3 resulted in dogs getting kicked (thankfully escaping major injury)
For #2 I admit to being sorely tempted to trample offending dog if not for the chance of getting dog goo on my horse's feet...

GreekDressageQueen
Oct. 30, 2009, 10:43 AM
Years and years ago I tried walking my Doberman next to my mare on a leash when I used to board at a farm that was nestled in a residential area. My mare is a saint and was hunted in England a lot so she was very good around dogs. However, Katie spooked and ran under my mare and got stepped on and broke one of her toes. After that experience, I learned to never walk a dog on a leash on horse back again.

Now I ride in the country and my dogs follow off-leash. It's much safer and so much more fun for everyone. BEST exercise there is for dogs and I still take them to parks and walk them a couple of miles every night - this is why my Labradors have never destroyed my house or developed bad habits. They are too darn tired!

I'm sorry your new barn doesn't allow dogs off a leash. You might need to find a new barn. Personally, I find children much more annoying than dogs and if kids don't have to be on a leash then neither do my dogs. :)

Nancy!
Oct. 30, 2009, 03:48 PM
It sounds like it is a barn rule, not a trail rule, so I would leash my dog while at the barn and then hand walk them both to the start of the trails. Unleash dog and get on horse. Much safer. I would NOT ride with a leash. Way too dangerous.

Have fun!

Nancy!

msj
Oct. 30, 2009, 05:11 PM
I apologize as I didn't all the previous comments but I agree with those that think it's just an accident waiting to happen.

I don't know it couldn't be done, but why don't you see if you can teach your dog to lunge? Same technique you would use with a horse but instead of starting with a lunge whip and line, start with a shorter whip, like a dressage whip and a lead rope to give the dog the idea. I understand the physical problems with not being able to walk the dog.

Good luck but please be safe, for you, the dog, and the horse.

Samigator
Oct. 30, 2009, 11:50 PM
We road dogs off horseback all the time in the field trial world. We use long ~20ft check cords and the dogs are always way out front pulling on the lead. Never really seen problems except when people try to go too fast, dog stops to pee or mark something, horse doesn't stop. Of course the dog has to be trained to move forward and stop on command, and the horse has to be well trained, desnsitized to having the rope at their shoulder or around their side and having the dogs running by them, and the handler has to pay attention. As long as you don't have too much slack in your check cord, and the dog doesn't hover right next to or under the horse, it's not all that scary- less scary than ponying I think. . . I would probably venture to say that a lot of the things that are common practice in the field trial community are viewed as unsafe by the vast majority, but they are still being used for a reason.