First trail ride - fear of water
I took Rio on our first trail ride together, we survived. It was a large trail ride(about 30-40 horses) and was mainly on the dunes. We started out in the back of the first group(finished in the front), he didn't seem to like being in back. I had trouble slowing him, so we trotted for 2 hours(he refused to walk). I did frequent circles but he was just really high strung(acted like a thoroughbred before a race). I think this was his first time on dunes, we almost went sideways(near fall) down one when i wouldn't let him run down it. my friend had to ride back up and get us. he kept getting frisky going up hill(cantering & bucking) eventually he realized i wasn't falling off and gave up. I havn't ridden him a whole lot and i know it will take a while for us to ride well together, but i've been getting weekly lessons to help. anyway, he is very reluctant to go through water unless another horse leads, and he is still afraid. i'll ask my instructor at my next lesson but i wanted multiple opinions about this, how can i get him to like water?
I had the very same issues with my horse when riding with a large group of horses on the trail. The more exposure she got to riding in large groups helped tremendously. Sometimes she and I travelled twice as much ground as most of the others, because of all the circling I made her do. :-) For getting your horse to go into water keep riding with someone who has a horse that will go in with no hesitation. Also when your approaching a water situation visualize your horse going in like he has done it many times successfully. If you get tense and anticipate his refusing to enter the water your horse will "feed off" your tension.
Happy Trail Riding..
That water seems to get all beginning trail horses! She's right, just keep following a horse that goes willingly and pretty soon they won't even realize they're doing it. When my horse gets antsy, it usually means I didn't give her enough 'wet blanket' time (ride enough!). And it is trail time---enjoy.
As other have said, just keep practicing. Keep in mind that this is a very natural reaction and it is not actually a fear of water itself. Horses have very poor depth perception due to their eyes being on the side of their head and can't judge whether the water is an inch deep or a mile. You'll often see water 'newbies' with their nose all the way down to the water to try and get a better look to judge it. Be patient, ride together with an experienced horse, and your horse will learn to trust that you know what you're doing.
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