Sunday, February 27, 2011

Dogs and Bears, oh my...

The second seminar of the day at the ECTRA Annual Convention was about dealing with dogs and bears on the trail.

When I attended First Descents, we were told that if we ran into a bear to keep our eyes down, say "hi bear" and slowly back out of there. We were also told to just let the bear maul of a little while we stayed in fetal position and to play dead.

This information is not the same when you are riding a horse (for obvious reasons).

We mostly have black bears around here, and most of them are on the opposite side of the state. I have heard several stories about riders running into bears while trail riding in Maine.

Honestly, I am not that worried about bears. I think as long as I can stay on my horse as he sits and spins, that he will outrun the bear. Bears are known to be sprinters.

The dog part of the seminar really interested me. I ran into dogs and had a problem for the first time ever last November and it freaked John out. Unfortunately I cannot avoid that area well, they came out of their yards and onto the farm's property to chase us.

The most important thing I learned was to control your space. You need to have the right attitude. Trained dogs know that humans are genearally in charge and if you take charge of the space with an attitude of "who do you think you are" that will really help the situation. The other things suggested were to turn and face the dog and to stop moving. If you have a whip and the dog tries to bite your horse, you can whip the dog, just watch out for lawsuits.

I have some work to do at home first though, because I think November's situation really spooked John and I will have to work on getting him not to sit and spin immeadiately and then we will handle this problem better.

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