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A new campaign to educate dog and horse owners has been launched following a rise in reported incidents.

The British Horse Society (BHS) confirmed that the number of reported incidents involving dogs and horses rose from 166 in 2014 to 250 in 2015 — an increase of 50%.

“Sadly the number of dog and horse related incidents being reported through our horse accidents website is continuing to grow,” said BHS head of safety Sheila Hardy.

“The consequences of these incidents can be particularly nasty with serious injuries often being caused to horses, their riders and the dogs involved.”

The BHS and Blue Cross have joined forces with the National Police Chiefs’ Council to launch the new advice leaflet for dog and horse owners.

“This informative and impartial leaflet will undoubtedly improve the lifestyle and safety of many like-minded animal lovers within our communities,” said PC Keith Evans, dog legislation officer on the national dangerous dogs working group.

Dog owners are advised to introduce their animals to horses at an early age. Dogs should be trained to remain calm around horses and not bark at them. If they see a horse approaching when out on a walk the owner is advised to call the dog and keep it in a visible but safe place.

Riders are advised to alert the dog owner they are coming past and to slow down. If the dog has become excited the rider should wait until it has been caught. Any nervous-looking dogs should be given a wide berth.

“One of the most important things for owners is to know how to control their animals and train both dog and horse to remain calm around each other from an early age,” said Gemma Taylor, education officer at the Blue Cross.

“If in doubt, dogs should always be kept on a lead around horses, especially in unfamiliar surroundings.”

Ref: Horse & Hound; 17 March 2016