How to Handle Wild Animal Encounters With Your Horse

Before you hit the trail, make sure both you and your horse are prepared for any wildlife encounters that might occur.
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How to Handle Wild Animal Encounters
Before heading out on the trail, research the types of animals you might encounter. | Photo: iStock
Joan Burlingame has access to 27 miles of trails  adjacent to her property in Ravensdale, Washington. It’s the perfect place to go riding on her Tennessee Walking Horse or her mule. However, it has also led to encounters with just about every type of wild  animal in the area, including dive-bombing owls.

“They are totally silent, and they approach from the back,” says Burlingame. “Barred owls tend to be the most aggressive, and they’re huge. They will go after your head. The joke is that one of the barred owls here has a baseball cap-collection.”

Though owl attacks are rare, it’s one more good reason to wear a helmet. Wildlife encounters can be spectacular at a distance. But dealing with them up close and personal can cause problems, from your horse spooking to an attack that could injure and even kill you or your horse.

As with any facet of equine safety, taking precautions in advance can help you avoid wild animal encounters and perhaps save you and your horse from injury if and when they do occur

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Written by:

Tracy Gantz is a freelance writer based in Southern California. She is the Southern California correspondent for The Blood-Horse and a regular contributor to Paint Horse Journal, Paint Racing News, and Appaloosa Journal.

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