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Predator meets Prey

In recent years, the British Horse Society has become aware of a great increase in dog related incidents involving horses - not just on loose horses in fields, but also on those being ridden or driven. The consequences of your dog being out of control around horses could be fatal.......

Dogs are by nature predators, even a placid companion dog may be tempted to chase a horse. Although the dog may not be chasing aggressively, the horse doesn’t know this. Dogs moving in a stalking manner can alarm horses who are by nature prey, and always on the look out for anything that may harm them. Even sunlight can play tricks on them and they see all manner of scary things in the shadows- including the Cockerpoo of DOOM! As a flight animal, the horses instinct to flee can be ignited in a fraction of a second. If they can not flee, they may attempt to kick out which can cause a serious injury. Once these powerful animals are in panic the rider or carriage driver may have little influence over them.

It is important for dog owners to understand they are liable to potential prosecution if their dog is ‘dangerously out of control’ (Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 Section 3).This means the owner must capable of instantly controlling their dog, no matter what the circumstances. ‘Close control’ will differ from dog to dog depending on how easy it is to call the dog back. If you can’t call your dog back immediately, they should be kept on a lead anywhere you may encounter horses or other livestock.


  • Teach your dog how to behave around horses while s/he is still a puppy

  • Always keep an eye out for horses, and keep your dog on lead in fields where there might be any livestock

  • Keep your dog under control at all times-out of sight is out of control!

  • Train a non negotiable recall (find a good trainer to help you)

  • If you meet a horse and rider, don’t hide in the hedge, rather stand in a safe place and give a cheery good morning.. The horse will then know you are a person (and not a tiger!) This will also help your dog to relax, if s/he is worried, as the rider replies to you..

  • If in doubt as to what to do, ask the rider. or carriage driver. They will be extremely grateful.


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