Crossing water - puddles, eventing, whatever

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Crossing water - puddles, eventing, whatever

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  • Getting a horse to walk through puddles
  • In eventing, what's the best way to get your horse through water

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    06-16-2009, 08:37 PM
Crossing water - puddles, eventing, whatever

Okay so i'm just wondering how you guys get your horses to cross water. I had a great ride on Duke today - my clyde/tb cross (will post more in dressage forum as the exercises we did were amazing), and then to cool out we went for a walk down the road where the swamp/stream came up over the road. He HATES water lol. We spent some time in the ring today just getting used to trotting through puddles - he hates them and we do this for good practice every time it rains.

We got through the flooded part of the road (it wasn't even deep enough to cover his feet) with some good patience, a little encouraging leg and spur, and quiet reassurance. I didn't have to get off, and we were alone (it's literally a few feet from my driveway so we were safe) with no other horses in immediate sight. I was SO proud of him! We were then able to do that a few times, and I was thrilled.

That said I was just wondering what do you guys do for harder horses to get them in water. I know you can have them follow another horse, or get off and walk through and have them follow you, or even back them into it (since they can't see as well directly behind them). What's worked for you?

Funny, but all this is new(er) to me recently since Duke is my eventer, and unless its directly related to a xc jump, he doesn't like it - and we've never had to compete through a water jump yet as there are limited events and facilites around here. It's the total opposite of my late eventer Bobby who was a TB and LOVED the mud and wet and grime. The bigger, deeper, and sloppier a jump was, the better! And if it was laden with months old green slime and brown film, all the more fun - he'd dive in like it was a swimming pool! LOL!

Mostly just curious to hear what others have done that has worked - esp how to teach the horse to walk/trot THROUGH it not jump OVER it. Thanks!
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    06-16-2009, 09:31 PM
I would of handled it the same way. Patience, encouragement, praise. Even if his toe touched the water, I'd of released and praised.

You're a very competant rider and trainer -

Nelson doesn't like walking through water out on hacks, he turns into a wimp. OOooh brave eventer scares of water! But out on the cc course, just as your late Bobby, he'll gallop through it, jump into it - so long as it is related to a cc course.
    06-16-2009, 09:35 PM
Haha bobby would go through, in, and under water any time or place!

Duke's fine - was just curious to hear what others do. I had my dressage horse in literally over an hour once refuse to go near water TOWARDS home, being led (by me, other horses, didn't matter). Nothing. Even took him on a camping trip once and he was like yeah so what - you all crossed. I'm a DRESSAGE horse people and this is a trail. You guys go have fun and i'm going to head back to camp! Later!

We did eventually get him across, quite begrudgingly on his part lol, and since have abandoned the water argument. If it's in the dressage ring, well duh, we can't compromise our test for something as silly as a puddle! Hmpf!

(silly ponies!)
    06-17-2009, 04:06 PM
There was a really good article about training horses to go through water obstacles in the May Practical Horseman. You should check it out.
    06-18-2009, 10:22 AM
What you did is exactly how you want to start, but sadly, sometimes that doesn't work. I once rode a show horse that was so terrified of water, he would rear up, spin around and run the other way at a puddle. We started small and we got over the fear with minimal injuries to me, but the biggest test was the stream crossing. For that, I did have to get off and back him into it. I stopped him in the middle of the stream and got on him there. We walked around, in and out. It turned out, he just didn't realize the water wouldn't hurt him. Now he loves water.

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