Tis the season for polls and surveys. Take a quick one – how many of your horse-owning friends also have dogs?
I’m betting nearly all of them do.
Woof and Hoof. Bark and Buck. Dogs and horses go together.
But how many have dogs that go with them when they ride?
That’s what I’m looking forward to with Kip, the new addition to our canine family. No surprise that we discovered her while picking up a wagon of hay from my hay guy. His Australian Shepherd had a litter of eight. Rolly polly puppies colored black and white and merle.
Aussies are cut well to the task of Ride Along Dog. (And I’m not talking about the fluffy poodle that sits on a cushion, riding shotgun on a Sunday drive.) They’re built like hearty, long-distance runners, have great endurance and tend to stick with the horse like glue.
Our other dogs – a Basset Hound mutt and a Black Lab – are decidedly NOT Ride Along Dogs. They have neither the physique nor the character for it.
But already Kip is proving worthy to the task. At just four months, I worried about exercising her too much. My vet chuckled. “I think she can probably handle anything you give her. The more exercise the better.” She tracks right along when we head out for our 2-3 mile runs.
We haven’t introduced her to the herd yet. Should be interesting. Jodi, the four-year old mare, has already shown us she’s super curious and up for a game of ‘Let’s Git the Dog.’
My last dog was an Aussie. She loved to go riding with me or a group. For every mile I put on she would put on 2 or 3. And she stuck to us like glue. Never out of eye contact. Of course back at home she tried herding my 3 horses to no avail. I miss her alot. I have a Border collie now and she goes out with me but tends to stay about 20′ behind the last horse. She doesn’t run around and play and sniff like my old Aussie. But she is fun also. Linda Libby
There is NOTHING more satisfying than riding with a good dog – or 2! I spent many happy hours with my Victor, a genius pit bull/pointer rescue and my Rat Terrier rescue, who took his cues from Victor. When we would go through the woods and come to a road, they learned to stop, sit, and we would listen and look. If no cars were approaching, they got the signal to cross.
It’s great conditioning for a horse who is spooky about noises in the woods, and very helpful if you are riding a horse who is reluctant to go through a stream, etc.
And everyone gets a happy workout at once.
You’ll have an obedient happy riding friend in your new dog.