Should Dogs Be Banned from Events?

Dogs and horses have always seemed to go hand in hand. Go to any barn or horse show, and you’re bound to see countless dogs accentuating the atmosphere. But where does the line fall when it becomes a safety issue for the horses and riders, as well as the dogs?

Today at Blenheim, a loose dog chased Millie Dumas and Artistiek on cross country, causing quite a scary sight during her trip through the coffin complex.

The dog proceeded to follow Millie, and her quick thinking saved her from further problems at the coffin complex. Watching the Vine, it’s a miracle that the dog was unharmed, and Millie picked up time penalties that she plans to appeal with the ground jury due to her having to avoid the dog.

At Burghley last weekend, a tragic incident occurred in which a puppy was attacked and subsequently killed by a larger dog. Both dogs were on leads with their respective owners when the miniature Dachshund was attacked. The puppy unfortunately was fatally injured, and the owner and authorities are in the midst of a search for the owner of the attacking dog.

It seems that videos or other accounts of loose dogs chasing horses or otherwise wreaking havoc at events are frequent occurrences of late. Just a few weeks ago, we posted this video of a horse who encountered a loose dog on course at Fair Hill.

Events such as this raise questions regarding the regulation of dogs at horse shows and events. While we’ve all become accustomed to seeing canine companions around horses, what happens when a dog breaks loose or is allowed to roam without any supervision?

Here are some ideas that have been proposed throughout social media recently:

1. A complete ban on all dogs at events.

2. A mandatory dog check where dogs will be cared for in a “doggy daycare” environment while horses are around.

3. Banning dogs on cross country day at events.

4. A collar/harness check, where dogs are checked to ensure that their leads and collars are sufficient to prevent breakaways.

5. Charging admission prices for dogs, the proceeds of which could be donated to charity, to deter people from bringing dogs that may be a flight risk.

6. Increased barriers between the spectators and the galloping lanes or jumps.

Clearly, having a dog chase a horse and rider around cross country is not acceptable. The responsibility lies with the dog’s owner to ensure that the dog is supervised at all times when around horses, but what responsibility does the event have for regulating dogs and their owners?

Should there be a blanket ban imposed across all competitions that does not allow dogs on event grounds? Is there a more middle ground position to take, such as simply not allowing dogs on cross country courses?

On the other hand, what about the responsible dog owners who always ensure that their dogs are always kept under control at events? Is it fair to punish them by imposing a ban on their dogs as well?

We’d love to hear your opinions on the matter of dogs and horse shows. Let’s discuss, EN!

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