Horse shows aren’t just a chance to compete and hone skills, they also give equestrians a chance to catch up with their friends, two-legged and otherwise.
Whether it’s a cutting competition, a 4H event or a reining show like the one held at Hardy Murphy Coliseum this weekend, competitors bring their dogs along with them, on and off leashes. Riders stopped to greet Reining Show Secretary Trisha Cantrell’s corgie, Geanie, at the main office.
Helen Bearden said she regularly brings her dog Mickey, whom she describes as hardly horse-savvy, along with her to shows.
“He gets to see all kinds of new things and new dogs,” Bearden said. “It’s nice, because some places don’t want you to bring your dog into a facility at all.”
She said leaving Mickey with a sitter or in a kennel while she and her husband travel wasn’t ideal, but since she started bringing him with her, she’s found she prefers it.
“It’s amazing, all these farm dogs, ranch dogs, barn dogs, they all seem to be very savvy and they’re very well schooled as far as behavior,” Bearden said. “If a strange dog comes up to him in one of these places, it’s not like being out on a hiking trail, where you don’t know what they’re going to do. Here, I feel okay.”
Shauna Larcombe and her Australian shepherd, Wombat, met at a competition. She theorizes that most horse people are also dog people.
“I actually got him at a competition in Oklahoma City as a puppy,” she said. “So, he’s a horse show puppy.”
Wombat traveled with her to Australia, then back to the US a few years later. She said Wombat makes friends with horses easily, getting close enough to lick their noses without getting underfoot.
“He’s grown up with horses, so he’s used to them,” Larcombe said. “At home, back at the ranch in Texas, he always wants to be near me, so he’ll sit down in the arena while I ride, or he’ll sit in the barn.”
Dany Tremblay said his blue heeler, Twice, knows horses and horse shows very well, and has been known to snag snacks for herself when no one is looking. He said she knows how to navigate her way around the larger animals.
“She knows horses can kick, she knows horses can hurt, so she knows how to stay safe,” Tremblay said. “Blue heelers are actually made for that, cows and horses, so they have a special feeling about those things.”
Samantha Smith and her American Bully, Incredible Stan Lee, have settled into a comfortable travel routine. She said Stan Lee hasn’t had much experience around horses, so despite his sweet demeanor, she’s fairly cautious at shows.
“He isn’t as used to horses, so it’s just about paying attention,” Smith said. “A lot of these dogs have been around horses for a long time.”
Smith said she often brings a camper with her to events like this, which lets her bring Stan Lee.
“He gets so excited,” Smith said. “If he sees me hooking up the trailer, he’s just ready to go. I’ve traveled with him to dog shows in New Orleans and St. Louis.”