Overcoming new obstacles (part ii)
 
 

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Overcoming new obstacles (part ii)

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        11-04-2009, 03:06 AM
      #1
    Yearling
    Overcoming new obstacles (part ii)

    I know everyone is thinking 'here we go again!' But the thing is while I enjoyed the over coming obstacles thread it degenerated into a bit of a farce and I came away feeling vaguely unsatisfied. I feel like people didn't answer the question so I am going to give a couple of real examples of my normal ride and I want to know what others would do in my place. This is a genuine question, not intended to be inflamatory. I will tell you what I do but keep in my mind any alternatives are welcome.

    First case: On the track into my riding area about 300 yards in is a "puddle". This "puddle" is roughly five metres long, it has a sheer bank on one side of it and a sheer drop on the other. In the last three months it has bellyed two landrovers, one with chains and swallowed a quad bike. If you were to try and walk through this puddle it is over knee deep. Remember this puddle is on the access point of my ride - ie I haven't started my ride yet. There are three choices 1) Ride horse through puddle. 2) Lead horse through puddle - if you choose this you are going to spend the rest of your ride with your legs up to your thighs covered in cold porridge. 3) Turn around and go home. So your horse doesn't want to go in the puddle (which is understandable but unacceptable). Remember there is no going around it. What do you do?

    Just to make it more interesting, the ground in front of this puddle is slippery, fighting a horse on papa clay chops it up and makes more mud! What do you do? Just to get the full picture there is clear track, lightly ascending, with good visibility for a couple of hundred metres on the other side if this "puddle".

    Case two: You have ridden down a track, it is a steep track that has started off OK. This track is descending down to a creek bed where theoretically there is a ford. This ford has the easiest access for any cattle wanting water in the area and as the stock have got down to the creek they have all walked in the same place, creating cattle ruts. The track has degenerated into a network of three deep cattle ruts, ruts that are so deep that as you ride in the one your horse has chosen you have to hold your feet up to stop them dragging on the grass on top of the rut. Remember it is a steep track about a 30 degree angle. Then you reach the creek. Again there is no going around it and at this point there is no going back, it is impossible to turn around in these cattle ruts. In order to go forward your horse has to drop two or three feet into the water, this is papa clay mud water by the way - you can not see the bottom of the creek. The creek is not very wide but on the other side of it is a mud bank that the horse will have to leap up and there is not much room to manuoever for the leap. Oh, and you do NOT want your horse attempting to jump straight across 'cos that will break a leg (seen it, it's ugly)! You get to the first drop into the creek and your horse doesn't want to go on. What do you do? By the way this is a point where you do NOT want to get off and try and lead your horse because you will be directly in it's path if it try's to leap across instead of getting in the water (seen it, it's ugly). What do you do?

    Here is my advice for these kinds of situations. NEVER let your horse fight! A fight will have to be fought on it's back and if that horse goes over, which it will (seen it, it's ugly), your screwed. These are situations where there is no room for doubt. If my horse even looks like it is going to try and argue I drum my heels in as hard as I can, I lash its rump with the lead rope I have attached for just this situation and I scream as agressively as I can "get your F***ing arse over there!" all actions performed simultaneously. Then once my horse is moving forward I drop the reins, hold absolutely still, too scared to even breathe in case it over balances the horse and I pray until we are on solid ground again. No spurs, no stick by the way.

    These are normal situations for me, these sort of tracks are what I have to ride on. I do not go out of my way to get into these situatons, it is the reality of where I live and it is often very scary for horse and rider. So what would you do?
         
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        11-04-2009, 03:50 AM
      #2
    Showing
    If at all possible, I would try to get the horse accustomed to water at home before ever asking them for something like that. However; there is not always time for days or possibly weeks of preparation before crossing a treacherous spot. I would let the horse go at their own pace toward the big scary water and let them look and sniff as long as they wanted so long as they aren't excited or trying to turn away. The instant that they started to balk, I think I would probably do pretty much what you do. Hang on tight, keep them straight, and give a solid whap to the butt. I would much rather ride a horse as they jump into the puddle (where it is possible that they would fall on me) than one who is fighting while slipping and sliding on clay or in a 2 foot deep cattle path (where it is probable that they would fall on me). Getting off and leading really wouldn't be an option because a panicked horse will go to the handler searching for security and if they come too fast and you are mired in the mud unable to move, they would likely trample you seeking security.
         
        11-04-2009, 10:17 AM
      #3
    Banned
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kiwigirl    
    Here is my advice for these kinds of situations. NEVER let your horse fight! A fight will have to be fought on it's back and if that horse goes over, which it will (seen it, it's ugly), your screwed. These are situations where there is no room for doubt. If my horse even looks like it is going to try and argue I drum my heels in as hard as I can, I lash its rump with the lead rope I have attached for just this situation and I scream as agressively as I can "get your F***ing arse over there!" all actions performed simultaneously. Then once my horse is moving forward I drop the reins, hold absolutely still, too scared to even breathe in case it over balances the horse and I pray until we are on solid ground again. No spurs, no stick by the way.

    These are normal situations for me, these sort of tracks are what I have to ride on. I do not go out of my way to get into these situatons, it is the reality of where I live and it is often very scary for horse and rider. So what would you do?
    these are difficult situations and a far cry from a simple puddle with no slopes to deal with. You had better have worked normal puddles and stream crossing before hand.

    The part about digging the heals in as hard as you can, yelling and lashing him with the lead rope?? While I certainly don't disapprove of this, it gets you through why not a simple pair of spurs to encourage the forward motion???
    While most are agianst wearing spurs they can be a gentle or as cruel as you choose to make them. It would save "drumming my heals in as hard as I can""
         
        11-04-2009, 10:21 AM
      #4
    Banned
    I have a crossing like your cattle crossing on it is a steel slippery bank, about 5 feet of bowling ball size rocks to prevent erosion, a fast flowing creek about 4 feet wide and 1 foot deep, a steep bank on the other side with a railroad track on top of the bank.
    You need to push the horse down the steep slippery bank, have him walk over the angle twisting rocks and then NOT jump the stream so you are pulling him back at the same time as you are pushing him into the stream.
    A tricky situation.
    For your crossings a well mannered horse leading would add confidence to a new horse.
         
        11-04-2009, 11:07 AM
      #5
    Trained
    The first puddle isn't too big of a deal. You take as much time as needed to get your horse across. If you have never given up on your horse he will probably wear down first and go across. If it took me half an hour I would spend it to get the horse feeling good about crossing. Once across I would go back and forth a few times to reinforce that there is nothing to fear.

    The stream crossing is easier in some ways because the horse doesn't have a lot of choices and if he has a good mind he will realize it. I wear spurs most of the time but I find that a lead rope across the butt makes forward motion better than a spur in the belly. That said I would still take all the time I needed to get across safely. It's much like the old saying that the fastest way to move cattle is slowly. The fastest way to get your horse through something scary is to go slowly.
         
        11-04-2009, 11:50 AM
      #6
    Weanling
    I'd prepare my horse's first before attempting to do any of that. If my horse shows any signs of fear when crossing water I will in no way force him threw it because mentally it will hurt him more than do him any good.
    For the first one, I'd get off and do some approach and retreat with the puddle and let my horse know that it's ok. If he's still too afraid, I turn around and not ride there. Simple as that, and I spend the rest of my day sending him over things and threw things to get him thinking and get him prepared for next time.

    The second situation, I would not go down there if my horse was not properly prepared for that. So I wouldn't have a problem. My trail horse will cross everything and anything no matter how deep, but my one mare will not, and I work with her 5 times a week or more to get her prepared so she'll be as good as my gelding.
         
        11-04-2009, 12:40 PM
      #7
    Banned
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SavvyHearts    
    I'd prepare my horse's first before attempting to do any of that. If my horse shows any signs of fear when crossing water I will in no way force him threw it because mentally it will hurt him more than do him any good.
    For the first one, I'd get off and do some approach and retreat with the puddle and let my horse know that it's ok. If he's still too afraid, I turn around and not ride there. Simple as that, and I spend the rest of my day sending him over things and threw things to get him thinking and get him prepared for next time.

    The second situation, I would not go down there if my horse was not properly prepared for that. So I wouldn't have a problem. My trail horse will cross everything and anything no matter how deep, but my one mare will not, and I work with her 5 times a week or more to get her prepared so she'll be as good as my gelding.
    Once I start something I never quit. To try and then retreat and ride somewhere else is just reinforcing the horse to refuse what he doesn't like.
    If you decide to cross the water you had better be prepared to succeed.
         
        11-04-2009, 12:46 PM
      #8
    Trained
    I think you're both right. Prepare your horse as well as possible but don't quit once you have started.
         
        11-04-2009, 03:36 PM
      #9
    Yearling
    I do agree with you Riosdad about the spurs. I am not normally a drum my heels type of person, I like to sit quietly. It is just in a situation such as I described and it looks like my horse will take issue I will use pressure on three fronts (sides, arse and noise) just to overcome any hesitation - before it becomes hesitation. The only reason I don't wear spurs is that I have never used them and am hesitant to do so because I don't know how to use them properly. I kind of don't know how to start with them if you know what I mean.

    I also agree Kevin about taking a horse slowly. Sometimes though it can be tough finding the balance between giving your horse time to think about getting through and time to think about evading the problem. Personally I would prefer my horse to quietly pick her way through rather than rush but some horses want to get in and out as fast as possible, leap in, charge through, leap out! As I said once a horse is on it's way I drop the reins and let it choose HOW it is going to get across.

    This is my own experience but I have found it very difficult to really prepare a horse to do this type of crossing for the first time. I think the scariest part is that the water is always dirty so the horse has to drop blindly into it with no idea of how deep it is. I have discovered that even a horse that loves water and will play and swim happily will have a real problem with this leap of faith. It is a catch twenty two, it is one of those things that you have to DO in order to get experience in doing it.

    I have to reiterate that this is a fairly standard creek crossing for me. They vary in terms of the breadth of the stream and the steepness of the banks. A nice easy crossing can very rapidly change characteristics after three months of rain and a few hundred angus beef animals wandering in and out of it. So I ride and have know idea what I am going to encounter, what was a nice easy "training" ford can suddenly become a really challenging obstacle.
         
        11-04-2009, 07:21 PM
      #10
    Banned
    Just try a set of spurs. Put them on and go for a normal ride. You might be suprised at the response you get. If you don't like them take them off.
         

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