Yesterday while the hubby was off at jousting practice with Red and Saga, Fuzzypony and I headed out on Taran and Cash for a relaxing trail ride. We ran into another horse owner who lives nearby, and the three of us spent the better part of an hour wandering the trails and chatting.
Isn't it funny how you can talk horses FOR HOURS with another horse person, even though you've just met?
At one point we got to a big field and decided to do a little trot and canter, just 'cause. Fuzzypony was cantering on the left lead, and Cash and I were on the right lead. We were passing left shoulder to left shoulder, about 20 feet apart, when out of the corner of my eye I saw Taran do this cutting-horse-esque pivot and spin to the left, throwing Fuzzypony over his right shoulder. He bolted directly into Cash and hit us broadside on the left. Fortunately, the impact threw Fuzzypony back into her saddle, but shoved Cash to the right and unbalanced me off Cash's left shoulder. I thought I was going to eat dirt, but had the presence of mind to throw my right arm over Cash's neck and pull myself back up. Cash, bless him, stopped almost immediately, blowing and wide-eyed. Taran had stopped next to us; Fuzzypony was unharmed but really shaken.
It had happened so fast I had no idea what caused it, so I spun Cash around... and then I saw the *&@%@$ off-leash dog that had spooked both horses. He'd apparently come careening around a fence so that he was directly behind Cash and directly in front of Taran, where neither horse could get a good look at him. Neither Fuzzypony nor I actually saw him until after he'd spooked the horses.
And the owners? They eventually got the dog to come back to them, put him on a leash, and walked away without a word. No apology, no checking to see if we were OK, NOTHING. We didn't go after them because frankly, we were too mad and too shaken to have a coherent, polite conversation with them. We probably should have, but I also didn't particularly want to ride my spooked horse over to where their very large dog was located.
I get that people want to let their dogs run - I let my dog run too, but only on my own fenced property. Of course, there are no leash laws in our small town, except during fawn season in the spring. But FOR REAL people, if your dog doesn't have good recall, KEEP YOUR DAMN DOG ON A LEASH. If we'd both hit the ground, we would have had two loose horses and possibly two injured people. That's not OK on any level.