I feel like a cowboy in a western movie, riding through the hot desert on my trusty steed. At six years old I was taught to ride by a Welsh farmer called Max Jones who was my hero.
My family couldn’t afford fancy vacations to foreign lands when I was young, but I didn’t care because the only place I wanted to go in the school holidays was Max’s farm in Wales. His business also included a flourishing bed and breakfast in the country house in which he lived with his wife Janet.
Families from all over the UK converged on Panther at Easter and summer, and while the adults relaxed, the kids played around the farm and rode the horses. My first welsh pony was Goblin, a skittish gelding that had a habit of throwing everyone who rode him, so of course the first time Max led the guests on a trail ride, I fell off and cried.
More than twenty years later I thought of Max and how he would have love to have ridden western style through this harsh but beautiful Arizona landscape. Even though I spent a good portion of my younger years around horses, I don’t know them as well as I know dogs.
They are highly sensitive to their environment, hyper aware and ready to take flight if needed. Some horses are highly reactive and can be spooked by the smallest things as are dogs, while others are more able to deal with change and novelty.
These days, however, there are more and more people training horses with less punishment and producing more successful, confident and predictable animals as a result. Being a pack or herd leader seems to suggest that these animals view us as their own kind rather than some strange, confusing two legged species.
I do believe we have to be leaders but that means we should not place ourselves as part of their herds or packs but rather as humans that teach and guide these animals while they navigate the challenges they face living so closely alongside us. This is an important element to consider when comparing our relationships with each species, because the difference between domestication and taming is profound.
As I wound my way up a steep and rocky path past rattlesnakes and prickly cacti, I had to work hard to convince my horse to keep moving at a decent pace and keep up with our guide. Sure, the horses on the Manque Verde ranch and countless others just like it love to run, they relish and need the exercise we gave them, and they’re far better off than their equine predecessors of just a generation or two ago.
There are plenty of similarities (giving mental and physical stimulation, etc) but there’s also an element of relationship-based bonding that goes on during a good walk with your dog where it’s time equally well-spent for both parties. In general, horses have less of a say in what they want to do and must follow our wishes pretty closely, while more of the choices we make with our dogs seem to be based on what’s best for them.
The rescue of 180 Chihuahuas sparks a larger conversation on how to transition dogs from crisis situations into homes. The two animals then chase and leap and box each other, matching each other’s moves, often with expressions we humans interpret as smiles.
Now scientists report for the first time that dogs and horses play together similarly, with open mouths and synchronously matched behaviors. This phenomenon occurs in primates, domestic dogs, markets, and sun bears, but has never been documented between play partners of different species.
Still, from an evolutionary point of view, they're predators and prey, so scientists were surprised the two species shared a common language of play. It could help young animals develop social and hunting skills; adults may use it to relax or maintain their health.
In 2018, Elisabeth Palace, an animal behaviorist at Italy’s University of Pisa, received a YouTube link from a student showing a dog and horse playing together. Intrigued by this particular partnership between horses and dogs, she decided to take a rare scientific look at play between the two species.
Between December 2018 and February 2019, Palace and her students analyzed hundreds of videos, and finally selected 20 for their study. When Palace’s team began their study, it wasn’t known whether facial mimicry could occur between partners of different species.
They jumped, pushed, hit or chased each other; played with an object; or handicapped themselves by rolling on their backs on the ground or shaking their heads, the team found. “It’s an important study because it shows how two animals who look and behave so differently can nevertheless manage to negotiate how to play in a way that’s comfortable for both,” says Smuts.
Throughout history, there have been some epic quotes about horses. For example, one thinks of the old “The outside of the horse is good for the inside of a man” quote that’s been attributed to Winston Churchill, Will Rogers, and probably a bunch of other folks.
You could probably claim your great uncle said it and impress a lot of folks. There are had been some pretty famous individual horses throughout history, too.
Bucephalus, the horse of Alexander the Great, comes to mind. Of course, you’ve got Pegasus, the winged horse of Greek mythology that also adorns Mobil gasoline stations.
While equips are certainly important as working animals in many areas, in most of the developed world, horses are no longer necessary as means of transportation, or particularly as useful engines to transport goods for the economy. Most folks don’t rely on horses to get to work, deliver messages, plow fields, or pull carts and buggies (at least, not unless you’re Amish).
Instead, horses have mostly morphed into leisure and recreational vehicles. Now, in many cases, they are almost as much a companion animal as they are a beast of burden.
So, for example, car enthusiasts may spend a lot of time applying wax to their car’s hood, so it will have that special shine; gardeners find that digging in the dirt is something to look forward to, with a prized tomato, or a blooming rose, as one of the emotional rewards. And, just like anywhere else that people choose to spend free time, horse people put a lot of emotional energy into their horses.
Horses are very special, for, among other reasons, they let us do all sorts of things to them. Only one other animal lets us dote upon it as much as does the horse: the dog.
Dogs can really put an emotional choke hold on your heart. Dogs let people pet them, and brush them, and feed them, and even dress them up in outrageous costumes, with nary a complaint.
It’s a good thing to remember that horses are not dogs, because they do and can act very differently. So, for your consideration, here’s a list similarities and differences between horses and dogs.
In the wild, both dogs and horses tend to travel in fixed group with an “alpha” (lead) animal in charge. Both horses and dogs can be eaten by people, although typically not in the United States, at least not to anyone’s knowledge.
This can be detrimental to the health of both people and dogs (see the preceding). This can make for serious health problems for dogs that get kicked by scared horses, and for horses that get bitten by aggressive dogs.
People, of course, get the distinct displeasure of having to deal with both of them after they get hurt. Horses shouldn’t sit in your lap.
From providing companionship on the trail to guarding the barn and killing off rodents, dogs can prove a valuable asset to any horse owner. Because of this, it is important to conduct thorough research before adopting a dog to accompany you on your riding adventures.
Ten of the best dog breeds for horses include Golden Retrievers, Welsh Corgis, Australian Shepherds, Jack Russell Terriers, Border Collies, Australian Cattle Dogs, Dalmatians, German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, and Great Pyrenees. Regardless of the breed of dog that you choose, it is important to train them to behave appropriately around your horses.
Through consistent training, you can ensure that both your dog and your horse remain healthy, safe, and happy. We hope that this information provides you with the ability to make an educated decision regarding a dog breed that is best for your unique situation.
As with any new person or animal, it is important to introduce a dog to your horse carefully and cautiously. Golden Retrievers are one of the most popular dog breeds both in the equine community and the world as a whole.
Known for their kind, gentle demeanor, this medium-sized dog does well around kids, animals, and most importantly, horses. As with almost any other breed, Golden Retrievers do have several health problems that may prove to be an issue in later years.
Common health conditions such as hip dysplasia, patellar locations, and other genetic issues may cause discomfort for your Golden Retriever as they age. Like Golden Retrievers, Welsh Corgis are known for several health problems that can limit their mobility later in life.
Things such as intervertebral disc disease and hip dysplasia may cause discomfort, although they are not common conditions for Corgis that remain active. It is important that you only consider adopting an Australian Shepherd if you can provide them with plenty of opportunities for exercise.
Several genetic conditions can plague Australian Shepherds, most of which are related to their eye color. Medium, Australian Shepherds are a great choice for active horse owners.
An obedient and intelligent breed, Border Collies are not only incredible companions but also great guard dogs ! Like other energetic breeds, it is important to provide your Border Collie with plenty of opportunities for both physical and mental stimulation.
Some health conditions that are common to Australian Cattle Dogs include deafness, hip dysplasia, and arthritis. Because of this, health problems are rare as long as the dog receives proper care and exercise.
If you are looking for a quiet canine companion to accompany you on trail rides, the Australian Cattle Dog could be a perfect choice. If you think back on their long history in the United States, you will find many instances of the breed being used for their ability to agree with horses.
Dalmatians earned the reputation as a “fireman’s dog” due to their ability to interact with the horses that historically pulled fire trucks. Many equestrians hesitate to adopt a Dalmatian as they do require great attention and care during their early years to ensure proper training.
However, with proper care and oversight, your Dalmatian will remain healthy and ready to accompany you on all of your riding adventures. However, if properly trained, German Shepherds make a great addition to any stable.
This breed requires plenty of positive reinforcement training and socialization, especially if they are kept around horses or other animals. Labrador Retrievers are obedient and loyal, making them an excellent choice for a new dog owner or an equestrian without the ability to dedicate long hours to training their new pup.
Although they are large and fluffy, Great Pyrenees makes excellent guard dogs. Great Pyrenees are energetic, requiring significant amounts of activity to keep them entertained.
Their owners must possess great amounts of determination and patience to properly train their canine companion. Because this beautiful breed was initially developed as a guard dog, they do bark a lot.
Great Pyrenees can grow to be quite large, something that should be considered if you are planning on traveling with your new pet. However, it is important to note that several things may prohibit a dog from becoming a loyal companion to your horses.
If you are considering a herding dog, it is important to realize that they will require large amounts of training and exercise to curb their bad habits. If your dog attempts to herd your horses incessantly, your equine companions may become stressed or forced to act out.
Oftentimes, small dogs are timid around larger animals, making it stressful for them to live in a stable atmosphere. Additionally, dog breeds that are small or fragile are more likely to receive an injury in the busyness of the stable.
Additionally, dogs that have a bad habit of barking often may cause stress or chaos in the barn, something that should be avoided if possible. As with any new person, animal, or environment, it is important to choose a dog that is compatible with your horse and riding lifestyle.
When it comes to injuries stemming from large animals and livestock, they can range from mild, requiring dogs only rest for a few days, to life-threatening. “We’ve seen dogs with head trauma from horses or cows, and even limb amputations after getting too close to a mower bar.
We’ve definitely seen some things,” said Paul Demurs, DVD, DA BVP, clinical associate professor at Oklahoma State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. All dogs (even those well-trained) can be at risk for injuries stemming from horses and livestock, as their instincts ultimately play the largest role in their behavior.
Before driving to the clinic, use your cellphone to take pictures of the injury or wound, and share with your veterinarian. This will help the office prepare for your dog’s arrival and for swift treatment.
If your dog experiences head trauma, he requires precise care and likely, 24-hour monitoring, which is not always an option at a primary veterinary clinic. If your dog experiences heavy bleeding, he could be suffering from a ruptured artery.
When it comes to working cattle, Dr. Honey says, “Just because they’re a herding dog doesn’t mean they are naturally good around livestock. While any dog can learn to be good around livestock, it is important to realize that cattle dogs, for instance, the Blue Wheeler, Catalonia and Corgi, will be attracted to it and stimulated by the livestock’s movement.
An untrained dog creates more chaos and anxiety from both livestock and people. Check your surrounding area for professional dog training classes.
Allow no recreational cattle or horse chasing, barking or nipping at all, if you can avoid it. Use treats, toys and your undivided attention to make training the most rewarding and fun part of their day.
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Building on over half a century experience in veterinary medicine, Valley Vet Supply serves equine, pet and livestock owners with more than 23,000 products and medications hand-selected by Valley Vet Supply founding veterinarians and their professional staff. With an in-house pharmacy that is licensed in all 50 states, and verified through the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP), Valley Vet Supply is the dedicated source for all things horse, livestock and pet.
This can cause problems for the horse, the rider, other members of the public and the dog. Blue Cross has teamed up with the British Horse Society and the National Police Chiefs' Council to offer advice on how to avoid this troublesome situation...
“I may be scared or nervous of seeing a horse and react by investigating or chasing.” Domestic dogs are defended from a predatory species that hunts other animals for food Dogs were bred to do different things and will have instinctive behavior traits, some stronger than others.
Knowing about your dog's breed may help you to understand how they could react in certain situations, including being around a horse for the first time. Socialize and try to train your dog to be calm in the presence of horses from an early age, so they are not a scary or exciting thing to come across Ensure you have your dog under close control and train a reliable recall If you do not have a sound recall, please keep them on a lead If you see a horse approaching, call your dog to you and keep as still as possible in a visible but safe place If you see a rider approaching quickly, make yourself visible, so they can slow to a walk before they pass you Wear hi-viz or bright-coloured top, it’s the safe thing to do generally, and riders can see you and react at an earlier opportunity Encourage your dog not to bark at passing horses.
The horse was a prey animal for many large carnivores, such as the wolf To survive, they run from any threat of attack. While play may not appear to serve any immediate function, it likely evolved because it can help animals rehearse key behaviors, relieve stress or build relationships, according to Elisabeth Palace, a sociologist at the University of Pisa in Italy.
In a new study, Palace and her colleagues focused on play between dogs and horses, both intelligent, domesticated social animals that can recognize the facial expressions of humans and members of their own species. After examining hundreds of dog-and-pony shows from YouTube, they focused on 20 videos recording 20 different pairs of dogs and horses freely playing without any human interference.
The findings suggest that despite the size differences and evolutionary distance between them, dogs and horses can play in ways that reduce the chances of misunderstandings escalating into aggression, according to the researchers. Inside Science is an editorially independent nonprofit print, electronic and video journalism news service owned and operated by the American Institute of Physics.