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Dogs and Horses in the park

I wanted to share an interesting conversation I had earlier this month with a pair of lovely equestrian ladies. When I arrived at the park I noticed 2 horses standing behind one of the park gates. I was patiently waiting to unload the dogs until after they had passed. They stayed to chat with me about their unfortunate run-ins with dog walkers of late. While at 1st they were using a frustrated tone with me I quickly managed to diffuse the conversation. The crux of the matter is that on a regular basis they are running into dog walkers who are not obeying the CRD parks rule about dogs and horses. On several occasions in the past few weeks they have had large packs of dogs charging their horses with no handler in sight for several minutes, dogs nipping at the heels of the horses and generally not being considerate of them as park users. They asked me to pass along a reminder to all of us.

"Dogs and Horses, Leash dogs immediately when approaching horses. Requiring dogs to be leashed when approaching horses provides a level of safety for the horse/horse rider and dog/dog owner. " is the CRD rule.

It’s in our best interest to avoid horses in the parks at much as possible not only for safety of the rider but that of our dogs. It doesn't take much unfortunately to have someone fall off their horse and become a quadriplegic. A woman in Saanich made an educated decision to bail off her runaway horse last winter and is now a quadriplegic because of the way she fell. You would be responsible for any injuries caused by a fall to the rider and any injuries sustained to the horse if it occurred because of your dog. I told them I would happily pass this along and try to find a way to work with them. Personally if I see horses I’m doing a quick change of direction and booking it as fast as possible in the other direction until I get enough distance between us to leash everyone or change trails entirely. These 2 ladies were weekly users of the park but have recently retired so are becoming daily users.

We are all blessed to be able to use such amazing parks. We must, and should respect all other park users no matter if they have a dog, horse, and children or are just out enjoying nature on their own. It is our responsibility as dog owners to keep our dogs under control at all times while out in public. So let’s use that good ole Canadian courtesy we are famous for and let everyone enjoy the parks.

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