Horse Predator Attacks
 By Winniefield Park   •   7th Nov 2016   •   2,083 views   •   2 comments

A family near the city of Calabasas, California are mourning the loss of their beloved Mini Marco Polo. When they discovered he was missing they assumed he had been stolen. But his body was discovered near his pen with evidence of a predator attack. A mountain lion has been blamed for the death, and poor Marco Polo has not been the only victim of the probable culprit. Several mountain lions live in the vicinity, but one, in particular, has been responsible for other livestock deaths. Large predators in this area are responsible for one or two attacks per month. Mountain lion and cougar attacks on horses and riders are not unusual, where these larger predators are accustomed to hunting larger game such as deer and elk. But this is the first pony that they know of say authorities.

Coyotes and Coydogs
Predator attacks are not unusual and you donít have to live in the remote wilderness to have a predator problem. Coyotes have a reputation for being shy and rarely seen. Usually, these small omnivores hunt rodents, reptiles, rabbits, birds along with fruit and tender plants. But recently, coyotes and coyote/dog crosses called coydogs have become bolder. Coyotes are being blamed for snatching dogs, sometimes as their owner watches. And coyotes are being pinned for the death and injuries of horses and ponies across North America, such as a recent pony named Phantom, his pregnant pasture mate, and an alpaca. In this case, on their farm near Fort Erie, Ontario itís believed that several coyotes attacked, badly injuring phantom and killing the other two animals.

Wolf attacks arenít uncommon. These larger predators will attack cattle, horses, and other animals. Donkeys and mules are often used as guard animals, but that didnít work for a farmer near Mayerthorpe, BC. A mammoth jack donkey, used by a mule breeder was lost after being attacked by wolves. In Montana, a pack of wolves killed a riding horse within a short distance of the familyís home. In this case, the wolves were known to be in the area but hadnít killed livestock. Horses are equipped to defend themselves and run away. But because domestic horses are kept in fenced pastures, they become an easier target for these predators to hunt.

Wild boars or feral swine are a problem in some areas. There are stories of these animals attacking horses, but they are rare. Feral swine are an acknowledged problem and attacks on humans have been documented.

Bears, both black and grizzly can be reclusive, or they can be aggressive. Much depends on the time of year, and whether or not cubs are close by. Horses do get attacked by bears in their pastures. But, riders are more likely to get injured when their horse spooks because they sense a bear nearby. The story of The Three Bears and popular cartoons have helped spread the myth of bears being sweet and cuddly. But, if you live and ride in bear country, itís best to understand that if you meet a bear, it wonít be inviting you in to sit on a comfortable chair and eat porridge.

Domestic Dogs
Dogs can become fierce predators, especially when they travel in a pack. The most placid house dog will run deer and easily harass and injure a horse. In fact, dogs may account for the majority of horse attacks. A report released in 2008 states the dog attacks on horses has increased. This particular report points the finger at fighting dog breeds like Pitbulls and Staffordshire Terriers owned by urbanites moving to more rural areas. These breeds arenít the only dogs that will take on livestock, however. Any larger dog breed, allowed to roam the countryside can learn to harass livestock.

Protecting You and Your Horse
So how do you protect yourself and your horse? Many attacks happen at night, so stabling your horse between dusk and dawn will reduce the risk of predator attacks. If your horse stays outside, motion sensor lights can be a deterrent. Noise is a deterrent too. A radio, squawking geese, or barking dog may scare off a predator. Itís also possible to set up motion sensor alarms, keeping in mind that the horses could set them off if not positioned carefully. If your livestock is being threatened by predators, contact your state or provincial wildlife department for advice.

If youíre riding, and see a predator, it may be best to dismount. A spooked horse may do you more harm than the predator it is afraid of. Carry bear spray. This is thought to be more effective than firearms, which can be hard to handle from a horse. Be aware of the season, and where predators have been sighted. While you might be inclined to scan the immediate area, donít forget to look up when keeping an eye out for predators. Big cats are likely to hunt from an elevated position. has tips for being outdoors in bear country, that also applies to other predators.

Have you been threatened by a four-legged predator?
Horse News More In This Category:  General      Horse News More From This Author:  Winniefield Park
Valkyrie   MOD 
*blessed to live in a country where the biggest problem is dogs and absolutely nothing else*
  Nov 10, 2016  •  2,091 views
no longer need barn
Agree with Valkyrie and people stealing them is about it.

But you never know these Lynx they are apparently releasing could be a threat if they release them in the Newforest! (Remember these animals travel vast distances!)
It's sad that some people's horses get killed by these animals but for them its like going To mcdonalds: Easy meal.
  Nov 10, 2016  •  2,081 views
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