A departure for a few thoughts on dogs and horses. I have always had dogs and they have always been free to interact with horses, clients, and other dogs etc. However, I have also attempted minimize problems in these interactions by teaching my dogs appropriate behavior in greeting others. Around the grooming area, with the exception of farrier or vet working, the dogs are allowed to be nearby. Because they are always around and polite to the horses there are rarely any issues. New horses to the farm adjust easily even if they have never dealt with dogs due to the relaxed atmosphere.The arena is also open range for the dogs and despite their occasional high energy play, the horses rarely react except with curiosity. Again, being calmly accepting of that play as humans in the vicinity, the horses take behavior clues from this.
Since the dogs do not try to engage the horses in their play fighting and running, and sometimes use the horses as the equivalent of traffic cones while running about, the horse generally maintain connection to their handler/rider. That humans often get tense when others creatures play, I find myself having a wonderful opportunity to have students practice their own mindfulness and focus. As we stay centered on ourselves, the horses stay centered as well. In working on our connection and relationship to our horses, dogs offer us a unique chance to add a third psyche without having to lose what we have gained in communication with our horse. Dogs are natural predators of horses but also natural comrades in a world designed by humans. Be encouraged by their ability to be comfortable in the shared spaces we create.