crossing a rocky river

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crossing a rocky river

This is a discussion on crossing a rocky river within the Trail Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

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    08-04-2008, 11:21 AM
crossing a rocky river

On my ride yesterday, I found a trail that I could go on all day if I can just cross the river. I have no problem crossing water or soft ground usually. In this place, the river bottom is all broken rock. From fist size to a foot across, lots of stones. The river bed is about 30 feet across; the part with water is about 1/2 that. The water is low enough that I can see everything as clear as a bell.

I was going to lead my girl across it the first time, but even with that I'm wondering if it's a good idea. Some of the rocks have "river green" on them. If I walk across barefoot, I know some rocks would be slippery. Will this be too slippery / loose for a horse? Or can a horse figure it out? She's pretty tough and I can take her a lot of places, but this would be a first for both of us. I took her right down to the edge yesterday, but chickened out there.
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    08-04-2008, 12:51 PM
Re: crossing a rocky river

Originally Posted by northernmama
I was going to lead my girl across it the first time, but even with that I'm wondering if it's a good idea. Some of the rocks have "river green" on them. If I walk across barefoot, I know some rocks would be slippery. Will this be too slippery / loose for a horse? Or can a horse figure it out? .
That is a dangerous thing to do - especially barefoot! Your horse will be able to pick his way across, just have some confidence in him and let him do it his way.
    08-04-2008, 01:51 PM
I wouldn't lead him barefoot- you could hurt yourself! :(
I think that you should give him time & patience, & let him go when he feels comfortable. Like, don't force him. I'm sure he'll figure it out!
    08-04-2008, 10:45 PM
Sorry everyone for the poor language in my post. I have no intention of leading my horse across it barefoot. I was just trying to explain the footing for anyone that has played in rivers with slippery rocks. I ride and work with my horses with proper footwear at all times!
    08-04-2008, 11:12 PM
Good to hear you don;t plan on going barefoot with your horse haha, but yeah I understand the footing.

I would have a little faith, let your horse have his head and pick his way through. Just sit back, relax and your horse should be fine. If it is as shallow as I imagine then I don't see a problem.
    08-05-2008, 01:49 AM
We do it all the time, No big deal, The horses pick their way across
My horses are all barefoot. It doesn't bother their hooves.

    08-05-2008, 07:22 AM
Sigh....homesick! Great pics, and great for illustrating your point!
    08-05-2008, 10:44 PM
Painted horse -- thanks soo much. I really thought it shouldn't be a problem, but I figured better safe than sorry. Now I'm going to work on getting her brave enough to cross! :) I'm sure I'd never get her across that much of a current at this point, but I'll work her up to it. I feel brave now!
    08-06-2008, 01:15 AM
Don't start with that much current.
Start with a tarp on flat ground, then a puddle, then small streams.
Also it helps to have another horse lead across and you follow.

That Sorrel gelding is 14 years old and has seen most everything in the mountains. So it's easy for my daughter to get him to lead across.

I take my babies when they are 4-5 months old and let them run alongside their mares when we go for trail rides. We cross the streams and they quickly learn if they want to keep up with mom they have to splash right in. By time we start them under saddle at 3 years old, A stream crossing, a bridge, and other trail obsticles are no big deal.

See the filly's following us loose in this picture

    08-06-2008, 02:45 PM
Oh, I've already taken her through streams and such, just not with the lose, rocky bottom. All muck or sand or lots of vegetation. I've had my feet wet a few times! But thanks for the advice.

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