help, horse wont go thru water - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 03-19-2010, 06:46 PM Thread Starter
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help, horse wont go thru water

Today, I spent a good 10 minutes standing in a mud puddle for my horse.
I was trying to get him into the paddock but it wasnt until he decided to squeeze himself between the rail and puddle. My boots and chaps are now soaked, and covered in horse hair (Thanks to shedding season.)

We had this problem before with water. He finds ways around it, but only once has he went into a puddle to splash around.

How can I correct this problem with Murray, so he enters freely and not me having to force him. Thanks.

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post #2 of 26 Old 03-19-2010, 09:08 PM
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Exactly what you're doing. Make a puddle in the doorway of a gate, then work with him to go through it. Maybe put some hay on the other side, but don't use it as a lure, just as a reward for going over the puddle calmly....i.e. no dancing or jigging.

I was once riding a 16.3 warmblood who was a very nice schooling horse. It was a 3 day long clinic, and on the second day, all of the students went out on the trail. The instructor failed to tell me (during the height of hurricane season) that her horse did not like puddles. Whilst on the trail, he spooked at a little river maybe my hand width wide. He didn't bolt, but I had to get off this 16.3 horse and hand walk him until the river was gone. The whole time he was dancing and running in to me like there was a monster about to creep up on him from this little riverlet. I am 5'2, so it was very hard for me to mount back up on this horse when the time came. Way too much work was involved.

It would have been nice if that instructor had invested the time to desensitize him to standing water outside of a water trough.
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post #3 of 26 Old 03-20-2010, 02:32 AM
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Its not always that easy! My litle mare is deathly afraid of water - she freaks out is a horse near her splashes. I've had for for a few months now. I've been ponying her on lots of trails - she will run or jump through water when I drag her through with no choice, but only puddles, and anythig deeper I hve failed to get her over yet. I think it will just be a long process of slowly getting used to t with her.
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post #4 of 26 Old 03-20-2010, 06:03 AM
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i have a horse that was the same it would dodge puddles all the time we took him to a river managed to walk him in and washed him out ,ever since then he dos,ent bother
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post #5 of 26 Old 03-20-2010, 06:35 AM
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It's not necessarily the 'water' that's your problem. It may be that he can't see the 'bottom', and that he doesn't trust that there's a solid base.

I like Jimmy's idea better...take him to a creek with a solid, easy to walk on bottom that he can see, and work him there. It may also help to work the horse prior, get him a bit tired, therefore less likely to resist, and thirsty.
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post #6 of 26 Old 03-20-2010, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Mercedes View Post
It's not necessarily the 'water' that's your problem. It may be that he can't see the 'bottom', and that he doesn't trust that there's a solid base.

I like Jimmy's idea better...take him to a creek with a solid, easy to walk on bottom that he can see, and work him there. It may also help to work the horse prior, get him a bit tired, therefore less likely to resist, and thirsty.
we did have another horse with him that went in first,so whether that made it easier it probably did
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post #7 of 26 Old 03-20-2010, 08:28 AM
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i know more horses who wont go through a puddle but will jump right in a stream/river/lake/water complex etc. i agree with mercedes about finding something with a solid bottom they can see
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post #8 of 26 Old 03-20-2010, 07:22 PM
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some times its the reflections as well that can put a horse off of going through a puddle, sometimes making the horse walk over plastic sheets on the ground can help too. i also agree with mercedes
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post #9 of 26 Old 03-20-2010, 08:30 PM
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I had to teach my young guy to go through water so I carefully picked a big
puddle that he could not jump and one he could not easily go around and then I just picked a time and decided today, right now was the day he would learn to go through water.
I steadied him with the reins and kept bumping him with the spurs. He tried cutting left and right but I presisted on steadying him. He backed up and I pressured him with the spur. He reared, he backed into trees but I presisted until he suddenly just up and walked through the water. We did it 2 or 3 times that day, again the next few days and from that time on he never refused any water crossing agian.
If I am running roads during the wet season I pick water logged ditches all the time just to test, just to keep him in practice.
For my method it takes a strong rider, one ready to go anywhere the horse wants to take him but 5 to 10 minutes and I have a horse walking through water.
It does hlep if you have another rider that can go through the water ahead of you but I prefer to fight my own battles alone
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post #10 of 26 Old 03-20-2010, 10:09 PM
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I agree with riosdad. I've done this with 5-7 horses and it always pays off.

One thing I'd suggest, if you don't mind, is taking the hose and really topping off that puddle in the gate so there are no areas he can slip through to avoid the puddle. It'll dry up.

A: Never stand on one side of a puddle directly in front of the horse and try to pull it across. Chances are very good that it will decide to jump the puddle and jump straight for you. NOT fun. Learned that one at about 13 years old. Haha.

So, lead the horse to the gate/puddle and don't even look at it or the horse, just keep walking forward. The horse will inevitably stop. Walk right into the puddle, and slosh around. Walk back out. Circle around, repeat. If it is really taking a long time and is a huge struggle, consider carrying a dressage whip or lunge whip in your off hand facing backwards. Tap the horse as you are walking forwards to encourage that forward movement.

I've resorted to standing in the water and sloshing it up on the horses feet. Eventually they are desensitized to it.

It really just takes persistence. The horse has to go in the paddock, and he will. Just don't get mad and angry and take it out on the horse.

We spent 3 hours out on the trail getting a horse to cross a 2ft wide creek. He eventually gave in, we walked through it 5 more times, and he didn't care at all anymore.

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