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dogs on horse trials?

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  • dogs on horse trials?

    Hey guys!

    I have a question that only horsey people will be able to answer!

    I am a first time dog owner (but we have had our dog since she was a puppy-- she turns 3 next month). I had horses for 10+ years so I am not new to having critters. Since I no longer have horses though my dog is now my best buddy. I have taken up running and would love if my dog would run with me. I have tried running with her on leash but she hates it-- tried in a couple different collars and a harness and she just hated it. She would just stop and not move. Which wasn't a huge deal since she's only 19lbs but still, not fun when I want to go running and she just stands there looking at me like I am crazy. I take her up to our friends farm and she plays with their dogs and we go for little walks around the farm. She loves this! She is off leash and just has a blast with her friends and runs and runs.

    So my question is, do you think it would be bad if I tried to take her running off leash? (obviously in a safe environment where traffic would not be an issue). She comes when called-- even when the rest of the dogs go running off after something and I call "Bailey!!!" she will break away and come back to me. She does not go after horses -- she gives her fair distance majority of the time. She only gets too close (for my comfort at least) if I am leading the horses (on foot) then she walks right behind me but infront of the horses.

    My next question is, if I do take her running off leash, do you think it would be reasonable to run on the horse trails? The farm is in the middle of fox hunting country, and people ride with their dogs all the time. I don't want to freak any horses out though if I am on the trail on foot running. I will obviously talk to the owner of the farm before I try this (currently we just walk on their property in the open areas).

    thanks so much!!!!

  • #2
    Well, I personally wouldn't do it....but I'm a nervous dog mom. I just don't feel it's worth the risk.


    • #3
      Running with an off-leash dog - sure, of course! As long as you have good recall and are in a traffic-safe area, go for it! (I used to run with my dog off leash in a city park! It was a "off-leash friendly" park, and my dog was always under total control. It was great, because running with a leash is hard, even if the dog loves it!) I also used to run with my dogs off leash at the municipal golf course (again, dog friendly after season) and it was the best - cart paths for me and open spaces for them. Too bad there were only a few times per year that this worked well without snow.

      As far as the horse trails - I guess I would say yes as long as you talk to the owner. If the owner knows who is riding and when, they may have no objection to your running and having the dog off leash. I think it just depends on their opinion of safety of the riders/horses.

      The only thing I would say as a caution is that you do have to watch your dog to make sure they are not too tired. It's easy for them to run mad circles around you at first, and then struggle to keep up once the novelty wears off. It stinks to have to walk back, but you have to be prepared to if your dog can't keep up.


      • #4
        When I used to have dogs, I would take them jogging off leash on horse trails. The trails were multi-use, and we'd run into bike riders far more than horses. When crossing paths with anyone, I would give my dogs a certain command, we'd pull off the trail, and wait for whomever to go by, then resume. Never had any problems. If there were hikers, I'd usually put one or both dogs on leash, just to be safe. With bikes or horses, I knew I'd never have a problem, and never did.


        • Original Poster

          Thanks so much guys!!! I will make sure Bailey (my dog) doesn't get too tired and we will start by not going too far at all. I like JumpQH's idea of a certain command. Normally I just tell her to come and then hold on to her. I will think about what that command would be/how to teach it to her.

          S1969 -- I wish we could go on a golf course!!!! That would be so cool!!


          • #6
            I'm another of those nervous dog owners. Mine is allowed at the barn (per B.O), and is extremely well behaved, but I still shut her in the office or a stall while I am riding. I just would never forgive myself if something happened to a human, horse, or her because I cannot focus on her and the horse I'm riding at the same time.

            Having said that, if you feel you have complete control of your dog off leash, and can get her away from any situation even when you're focussed on running, I think it would be ok. Obviously get necessary permission from property owners first.
            "Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
            "With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey


            • #7
              Originally posted by EquestrianRunner View Post
              Thanks so much guys!!! I will make sure Bailey (my dog) doesn't get too tired and we will start by not going too far at all. I like JumpQH's idea of a certain command. Normally I just tell her to come and then hold on to her. I will think about what that command would be/how to teach it to her.

              S1969 -- I wish we could go on a golf course!!!! That would be so cool!!
              My command didn't start as one, but ended up as one! Instead of "come", it was "here, guys", and they began associating "here, guys" with "someone's coming, we have to get off the trail and wait".


              • Original Poster

                Event4Life-- I totally understand why you would lock your dog in the tack room/stall while you rode. I would do the same if I were riding. I am pretty confident that I will be able to focus on my dog while I run. We currently walk around the farm property (off leash) and she is good about leaving horses and riders alone along with staying close to me.

                JumpQH-- That sounds like a great way to do it!!! I will try that next time I go up there for a walk with the dogs.

                I will keep you guys posted as to how everything goes! Sadly it looks like rain for the next couple days but once the rain stops I will go out and give all of your wonderful suggestions a try!