Today an attack in a London park on a police horse by a pet dog, an horrific attack, the dog was intent on bringing the horse down, going for his nose and the fetlocks, the dog working like it had brought down its prey before, it was skilled, and yes the dog wanted to kill and eat the horse! Dogs don’t get like this by accident, they are allowed to practice, people call it the dog playing with the sheep, or rabbits or squirrels or deer, believing the animal can always out run their dog, they allow it to behave this way, oh “he’s only playing” or “just being a dog”. Well that is true, but a feral dog, not one I want to live with, do you?? Is this a society that will tolerate this behaviour from animals that are meant to be pets?
In the last 2 weeks I have ridden my horse in the country park near me, 5 times a week, 8 of those 10 rides I have been harassed by dogs, some instances worse than others, none good, any one of them could have resulted in me being thrown and injured, my horse bolting away and injuring himself. My horse is used to dogs and is well behaved around dogs that aren’t trying to hunt him, but all his instincts kick in when a dog starts behaving like the predator.
Here is a fact:
Dogs are predators, horses prey animals, dogs eat horses, horses know that!
My horse Panero
On three of my rides in the last couple of weeks I had particularly scary moments, the first was a guy with 3 dogs off lead, 2 springers one Rottweiler, as the guy noticed me his first response was, “they are fine”, indicating his dogs, well 2 of them were ok, they didn’t show any interest in me or my horse, the Rottweiler had other ideas, he charged at us barking menacingly, the guy called him several times, to control my horse and stop him running away, I kept turning him to face the dog, to prevent the dog getting behind us, pointing my whip at him and waving it around, although I wasn’t close enough to touch him. The guy started toward his dog(not fast enough for my liking!), the dog was becoming more threatening and I was getting more harassed, and shouted “please get your dog”, the guy responded with something like “what do you think I am doing”, but still speeded up thankfully, and soon grabbed the dog. Although his other dogs were not behaving aggressively or coming at my horse, as soon as he was coming nearer to us to get the Rottweiler dog, the others were milling round too, my horse didn’t know if they were after him too!!
No apology, nothing, I said “thank you” and went on my way. My horse was upset, as was I.
I don’t think he even had a lead to put on the dog!
The very next day 3 GSD’s big ones, off lead on a bridle path, one off hunting some distance from the man and a woman who were with them, I thought they had caught the other 2, the hunting one spooked my horse as it ran off in the undergrowth by the path. The woman shouted I don’t know where the other one is, I did, and pointed to the field it was running along the side of! I was then very worried about what that dog would do as it came back, if the owner was so concerned on the dogs whereabouts in relation to me, my guess is that she thought it might come for me and my horse, I hesitated not wanting to get any closer until it came back in sight, it went straight past me luckily, and was going back to the owners, meanwhile I was so busy watching that one, I didn’t see one of the others get away from the woman (if she ever had hold of it) and it charged at me and my horse, barking aggressively, as only a large GSD can do! My horse spun round away from this dog, and because I was looking the other way at the other dog, nearly got left behind, I just stayed on, and managed to turn him back and get him under control while reaching forward with my whip, in an attempt to threaten the dog to go away, he luckily went back to them. I and my horse were shaken, now to get by them, we managed it, in my scare and upset, I said to them, “I am 68 and your dog nearly had me off my horse, and 3 such big dogs should not be off lead at the same time”, they didn’t have a hope of managing them well. The man said, “we didn’t see you”, I replied by saying “so this is all my fault then is it?” At this the man got very aggressive and abusive in his language and threatened to sort me out! I was already frightened, now I was really terrified, I turned my horse back to face them, afraid they were going to let the dogs go again, which would have been curtains for me, the man was again verbally abusive the woman trying to stop him. I turned away and continued my ride, though I was very upset and worried they may reappear somewhere else before I could get home. I managed to get home safely though still upset by the experience. Sadly more worried by the man's behaviour than the dogs.
A couple of days later, on the same bridlepath, I saw up ahead a French Bull dog with a couple, who rather than put the dog on the lead for a few moments, the woman ducked through the fence and hedge and took the dog off to the field the other side. As I drew level with the man, who had stayed on the path, says “the dog is young and not good with horses, but he only wants to play!!!!” At hearing the guys voice the dog comes back, sees my horse and comes rushing at my horse, this spooked my horse (that could have been enough to cause and injury if I had fallen off) I turned my horse toward the dog ready to chase it back, fortunately it was young and not too brave and returned to the people!
Please do tell every dog owner that dogs are not playing they are hunting if chasing another species and do not let them, please look after each other.
From now on I will be wearing a camera to record these events, Dog owners have to be held accountable for not controlling their dogs!