Activities For A Horseback Rider With Dogs

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Introduction

You love horses and going horseback riding. You also love your dogs. What can you do to combine both passions? Plenty of things! While your dog might not be jumping up on the back or a horse with you (especially if they are a bigger pup!), you can easily incorporate your horseback riding life with your life at home with your dog. Get ready to have some fun with your pup and also to horseback ride!

Trail Runs

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Sunny Day
Cheap
Normal
1 hr
Items needed
Horse
Treats
Whistle
Collar
Activity description
If your dog is comfortable being around your horse and your horse is also comfortable around your dog, then this is the perfect activity for you. Bringing your dog with you as you go for a trail ride on horseback is the perfect way to make everyone in your family happy (you get to ride, your dog gets to run and your horse gets to stretch their legs). Before heading out on the trail, make sure your dog is well trained to come when called as they will be running loose! This activity is inexpensive (assuming you already paid for your horse!) and is best when the weather is nice and sunny.
Step
1
Trail search
Look for a trail that will allow horses and dogs off the leash. Trails that have a lot of space to park your trailer are best and you may also want to opt for trails that are away from roadways since your dog will be running freely. When you find a trail suited for your horse and your dog, get everyone ready to hit the road and drive to your destination!
Step
2
Ride
Once at the trail, let your pup sniff around a little bit while on the leash at first. Get your horse out of their trailer and lead them to the trail, walking your horse and your dog. Once on the trail, let your pup off the leash (toss them a treat so they know you have "the good stuff"!) and get on your horse. Start your ride while your dog starts exploring the trail.
Step
3
Reel them in
If your dog starts to wander off or they are out of eyesight, call their name to bring them back to you. When your pup arrives, give them a treat and some words of encouragement. Then, let them roam again. Your dog will likely want to stick near you and your horse, especially if you make trail runs a frequent event. Your dog and your horse will become a team - a pack even! Ideal for everyone who loves both animals.
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Paw and Hoof

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Sunny Day
Cheap
Normal
30 min
Items needed
Dog Treats
Horse Treats
Activity description
Just like dogs, horses can also learn tricks. In fact, you train a horse to do tricks in much the same way you would train your dog, through repetition and rewards. Why not train your horse and your dog at the same time? One trick that both animals can learn together is to give paw or, in your horse's case, give hoof! This can actually be quite a useful trick for your horse to learn as it will help them lift their hoof when in need of shoes. Your dog will enjoy the treat rewards and your horse will too! Purchase a bag of treats for both animals and you'll be ready to go!
Step
1
Word association
Begin training your dog to give paw and your horse to hand over their hoof by naming their appendage. You could reference both by saying "hand" rather than hoof and paw to make things simpler. When you say the word, lift your dog's paw and hand them a treat. Say it again and lift your horse's hoof and give them a treat. Keep doing this until they learn the words.
Step
2
Give "hand"
Once your animals know the word "hand" (or whichever word you choose to reference their hoof and paw), start asking for it by name. Ask your dog to "give hand" and your horse to "give hand" at the same time. If they successfully perform the trick, toss them each a treat. Try asking both pets for their "hand" at the same time to train them to offer it in unison (a fun trick to watch!).
Step
3
Practice
Keep practicing "give hand" with your horse and dog even when they are not together. If you go for a horseback ride without your dog, ask your horse for "hand". If you are home with your pup, practice there as well. Make sure to bring them together often though to show off their tandem "give hand" which is sure to impress anyone who passes by!
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Strength Exercises

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Any Day
Cheap
Easy
20 min
Items needed
Dog Treats
Activity description
Horseback riding requires a lot of strength especially leg and core strength. You need strong legs to stay on your horse and also a strong stomach to stay centered as you ride. Luckily, you can increase your strength in the comfort of your home to help improve your horseback riding skills. Guess who can help you work on your strength? Your dog! When you need to do a little conditioning at home, be sure that your pup is by your side to help. This will not only make the exercises more fun but it will be a treat for your dog as well (because they literally get treats!). For the cost of a bag of treats, you can do this activity anytime with your pup.
Step
1
Sit ups
Lie down with your back on the ground and your feet flat on the floor, making your knees bend upward (the sit up position). Place a pile of treats behind your head and have your dog sit by your feet. Grab a treat and then use your core muscles to sit up and hand your dog the treat. Lie back down and grab another treat. Then, sit up again and give your dog their treat. How many sit ups can you do? Your pup could probably sit while you do 100!
Step
2
Lunges
Have your pup sit in front of you a few feet away. Stand with your feet together and then take a large step forward, touch your back knee to the ground and pick up a treat from a pile on the floor. Stand up and bring your feet back together and toss your dog the treat. Take a step forward with the opposite leg and repeat the exercise including the step with the dog treats! Do sets of 20 lunges to improve your horseback riding and to help fill your dog's belly.
Step
3
Fly
Lie on the ground on your stomach with your arms stretched out in front of your head. Have your dog lie down next to you. Get ten dog treats and put them on the opposite side of your body, away from your dog. Arch your back so that your arms, head and feet are off the ground and hold the position for ten seconds. When done, toss your dog a treat, wait ten seconds and then start again. You will know when you have done ten reps when the dog treats are all gone!
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More Fun Ideas...

Barn Trips

When you go to the barn to ride your horse, just bring your dog along with you. Many horse barns are dog-friendly and your pup will have fun hanging out around the big horses.

Running Buddy

Running is a part of building stamina for any athlete; horseback riders require strength to stay put in the saddle for extended lengths of time. Take your dog running every week for the benefit of both of you.

Conclusion

Horses and dogs are natural friends, so it is easy to find things to do with both your horse and your dog. While some of these activities take a little more time, others are super simple and you can start them today. Will your pup love trail runs with you and your horse? Will they enjoy your horseback riding workouts at home? They absolutely will! No need to keep your horse life and your dog life separate anymore - the two are meant to be together.