x-c through water
the other day, my pony and i went cross country. she was amazing accept for one thing....the water:shock: she didn't try to buck or take off but she started rapidly backing up. eventualy, i got her through it but it was hard work. any suggestions?
Start slow. Get her to walk through puddles and then the water, with you on the ground first. She has to see that you aren't scared of it, so theres nothing to be scared of. So start by walking her through it on the ground, and once you get that, you can hop on her and have her walk through with you on her back. Just make sure you do it several times on the ground first. It will take her time to get used to it, but she needs to know theres nothing to be scared of first.
My old horse HATED water. She would fight me in the ring if I asked her to go through a puddle, and we always had trouble trotting/cantering into water in the cross country field. Jumping into water was actually easier for us for whatever reason. Coaxing her to walk down the bank worked the first time we went schooling, and then when we were actually at an event she stopped short on BOTH of the banks on the xc course, so at those points I just smacked her with my crop a few times to make her go. It sounds like your pony was afraid of the water, (correct me if I'm wrong) so I wouldn't force her into the water, but if she's just prissy and doesn't like getting her feet wet (like my old mare) you may want to reconsider. Trekking through as many puddles as you can would be good practice for her.
And I'm also in MD! Which course were you schooling on?
You just have to practice getting her in water where ever you can. The more times you tell her to get into the water and she does, and realizes she's survived, she'll get more confident. Be careful, however, because if there comes a time where you come across water that is particularly boggy or whatever, and she has a bad experience she will take it as you lied to her about her safety and her confidence will deflate. So make good judgement calls.
A good thing to teach horses to get into water is this. Keep their head at the water. Ask for her to move her butt to the right, then to the left, and keep repeating. Don't ask for forwards. Just keep telling that hind end to move. Any effort on her part to -look- at the water, or attempt to go forwards, praise her big time. Don't let her turn away from the water. If she backs up, doesn't matter just keep moving her butt from right to left. She will on her own decide forward is a more comfortable way out, and then you praise. You keep repeating until she wants to take -you- into the water. With timing and patience, this method never fails. You just have to be clear and consistent, and most of all patient. Don't ask for forward, you will only make her more resistant. Get the forwards by her deciding its easier.
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