Puddles! - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 24 Old 10-28-2009, 08:12 PM Thread Starter
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Puddles!

So, Champ has really started to relax and enjoy being ridden around my yard and pasture but I would like to keep exposing him to new situations and ride him on trails near my house. Only problem is to get there we have to pass through the dreaded puddles. He gets very antsy around them and will not step in them. How to I get him to walk calmly through a puddle?
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post #2 of 24 Old 10-28-2009, 08:24 PM
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Use a lot of approach and retreat. Ask him forward and the second he hesitates stop and let him settle. It's not about the puddle. It's about his confidence in you. So, after he settles ask him forward again, and if he doesn't go simply ask him to back up, settle again, wait until he's relaxed then re-approach the puddle. The worst thing you can do is push him toward it, that will destroy his confidence. What I would do first, though, is find a puddle (or make one!) and work on this from the ground before working on it under saddle.
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post #3 of 24 Old 10-28-2009, 08:30 PM
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. The worst thing you can do is push him toward it, that will destroy his confidence. What I would do first, though, is find a puddle (or make one!) and work on this from the ground before working on it under saddle.
Funny I just push my babies forward and before long there is nothing NOTHING that will stop them. If my guy refused something I would bump him with my spurs and he will move forward. I have always followed this philosophy. I started a new guy last summer and I picked a large puddle and just told him this is it and until he give in we are going to keep fighting over this thing. It took about 5 minutes of rearing and slamming into trees but he quickly gave in, walked through the deep mud puddle and from that time on never refused again.
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post #4 of 24 Old 10-28-2009, 08:40 PM
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All of that rearing and chaos could have been prevented. That's what approach and retreat does, plus it's better for the horse mentally and emotionally.
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post #5 of 24 Old 10-28-2009, 08:46 PM Thread Starter
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rearing, slamming into trees and chaos does not sound like fun. Lol.
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post #6 of 24 Old 10-28-2009, 08:49 PM
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No it doesn't, and imagine how the horse feels during all that chaos.
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post #7 of 24 Old 10-28-2009, 08:50 PM
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All of that rearing and chaos could have been prevented. That's what approach and retreat does, plus it's better for the horse mentally and emotionally.
Yes but in less then 10 minutes I will have a horse over his fear of puddles and well on his way to doing/going where ever I point him. I can honestly think of nothing that will stop him.
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post #8 of 24 Old 10-28-2009, 08:52 PM
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No it doesn't, and imagine how the horse feels during all that chaos.
By not tip toeing around issues the horse learns quickly and before long becomes fearless.
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post #9 of 24 Old 10-28-2009, 08:53 PM
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Just because a horse gives in doesn't mean he isn't scared. It just means he was intimidated enough, and that he was the kind of personality that he will give in. I don't want my horse to give in, that implies force, I want him to WANT to do things for me because he is confident and willing. I guarentee you, if you tried that with my horse he would have you on the ground. He is not a horse you force.

Approach and retreat is not tip-toeing by any means. It's respecting the horse's feeling of being afraid. In his mind the puddle IS something to worry about. Your thinking is predatory, which is natural to the human, but horses don't think like that.
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post #10 of 24 Old 10-28-2009, 10:17 PM
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I'm with Riosdad... I would rather have a few crappy minutes than 4 crappy hours.. A horse is afraid of the puddle either way and the horse would rather that we leave them alone anyway!!! So if I were a horse I would rather be uncomfortable for 10 minutes so I could get back to eating then nagged for 4 hours...

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