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4hoofbeat 07-01-2013 10:05 PM

Mud, puddles and an older horse
With all the rain we've been having my guys "doorstep" is one big muddy puddle. I board him, so not much I can do about the setup. He has a fear of the puddles that at 28 I would think he'd be over, or at least a little more brave about it. Long story short, I got him when I was 14, sold him when my parents divorced 5 years later ( with a very heavy heart), and miraculously found him and got him back about 6 years ago. When we had first gotten him, the breeder said something about an accident when he was younger and he didn't like puddles. Well it seems worse now than before. I need some ideas on getting my guy a little more comfortable stepping through the puddles to get out of his stall to his attached paddock. I get there everyday to take him out to the other fields, he does get out. But not as much as I'd like, his back legs are still stocked up. Any ideas? Thank you

4hoofbeat 07-02-2013 08:49 AM

someone must have some ideas?

i know natural horsemanship is about pressure and release. do i walk him to a point he's comfortable near a puddle and let him stand there for a minute? then walk away? getting closer each time? it's not like a tarp where i can have him follow it.

I've been doing a lot of natural horsemanship with him since i got him back. and was hoping i'd get some help here. even if just some ideas.


walkinthewalk 07-03-2013 08:00 AM

Do you know what the accident was? Any chance he hit his head and maybe his eyes are now failing as a result?

Also, horses do not have depth perception.

They see that dark in the mud puddle as a big black never ending hole that is going to eat their legs up.

Some horses are more concerned with that, than others. Just like some people are more afraid of the dark than others.

I have a horse that knows, without question sixteen boogie men are coming out of that dark water-filled spot in the road, yet I can hardly hold him back when we get to the lake because he loves to swim. Go figure:shock:

Between being born not having depth perception and the accident from years ago, your horse has decided water puddles are not in his Happy column.

As far as training him - he's going to have to develop more trust in you than in his Flight Instincts.

I've had horses jump over the puddle, until I found one in the woods there was no getting around. I was fortunate to have a well seasoned, no-fear horse with us. That horse went calmly thru first. I had to do a lot of convincing (I did not get off, it was too muddy, he's 16.1H, I am 5'2" - lol lol) but I finally got him thru.

I made him go back and forth until he settled down and realized the puddle wasn't going to eat him alive.

After that, the only thing that seems to keep the fear from creeping back, is to make a habit of riding thru the puddles every chance you get<---the wet saddle blanket theory:-)

Hope this helps:D

Boo Walker 07-03-2013 10:27 AM

Can you grab a shovel and put dirt (or loose gravel or even some poop) in the hole? Displace the water so he can see the bottom and give it a firmer feel under him until it dries?

Dustbunny 07-03-2013 12:03 PM

I'd try and fix the puddle. Maybe some heavy bark or pole peelings...something that would not turn to a muddy mess. Check with your local landscape supply. They may have some suggestions.

4hoofbeat 07-03-2013 07:56 PM

I don't remember what she had said the accident was. He seems to have good eyesight. I have been working with him with the safer puddle in the driveway. He is making some progress, he will drink out of the puddle in the grass field .. Go figure

I have tried fixing the puddle in front of his door, even digging a trench to the end of the barn, it is just soooo much rain the past few days nothing seems to be helping. And I have shoveled out his dirty bedding to put there. He went out ever so carefully along the edge. It was actually quite funny to watch.

I guess while we are having to deal with rain and mud and the puddles I saw it as a good time to work on this with him.

And the BO today said they're bringing in some rock for in front of all the doors.:D

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