Devoted to Basenjis as Pets
BASENJIS WITH HORSES
By Liz Curran, 2013
The examples that follow are from a horse and a pony that belong to me, that I have owned and cared for for many years, and I know them both very well. This is how I like to make introductions with these particular animals. Every horse has its very own distinct personality, as does every dog, so knowing your own animals will make any inter-species meetings more successful.
When introducing Basenjis to my horses, there are a couple of “rules” I like to follow. First, no Basenjis in with the pony. He doesn’t like dogs and will try to bite, trample or kick them. My basenji Viggo found this out the hard way, and got a fractured front leg for chasing the pony. Lots of vet bills and trying to keep a splint clean and dry on a Basenji in winter is not an easy task, I recommend not ever trying it if you can avoid it. The lowest strand of electric tape fence is low enough to discourage dogs from entering his area of the paddock now and it is a very unpleasant experience to touch the fence (I have accidentally touched it more times then I care to remember!).
My big horse, Jesse, is another story. He seems to really like dogs and will touch noses with them and try to gently nibble on the curly Basenji tails. He lets them run underfoot and is careful to not step on them, even if they are trying to steal his grain It has molasses in it which is quite tasty to Basenjis, in the grain or after the grain is digested, they seem to like it either way…(I recommend not kissing your dog after (s)he has been visiting a horse pasture).
When first introducing any dog to him, I usually will stand next to Jesse and invite the dog to come over to us. Most are pretty cautious when they first see the horse and approach with a lot of sniffing and body low to the ground, in preparation to RUN AWAY if the giant animal tries to eat them. The boldest basenji (Viggo) actually grabbed Jesse’s tail and tried to tug on it. A firm NO (and a quick squirt of water) ended that game, and he hasn’t repeated it. Maybe the incident with the pony smartened him up?
Most have a look of terrified,tail-uncurling curiosity when they see the horses, but being such smart dogs, they quickly figure out that the big horse is safe, and ducking under the electric fence will provide safety if they get too close – the lowest strand in Jesse’s paddock provides clearance without danger of being zapped. Some Basenjis, like Rosie (in the photo with Jesse), who was one of my BRAT foster dogs, and her litter mate, Kato (my failed BRAT foster, who is now a permanent family member) will play bow to Jesse and try to get him to play with them, but it doesn’t last too long. When Jesse trots, the ground shakes, and that is a little too scary for them. Viggo and Jesse have been seen lying in the pasture together, napping when it is nice enough out for Viggo, which is at least 70 degrees or higher and sunny!