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Horse jumps ditches/water

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  • Why horse does not walk across shallow mud hole
  • How to get a horse across a ditch

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    02-27-2012, 07:55 AM
I think he is afraid, he doesn't like to cross water.
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    02-27-2012, 01:23 PM
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Then I would work on getting him used to crossing water by having him step into things like puddles. Things on flat ground. Start with having him put in just one foot, then let him move away and reward . Then back to put in a foot , and work your way up until he will step through and eventually stand IN the water.
    02-29-2012, 07:59 AM
Puddles are funny. My younger horse has mastered crossing wide streams, but Still doesnt like stepping into puddles in the driveway.
If fear is the issue, it is always a good idea to get him to 'follow' an experienced horse across the water. Once he can do that confidently, then you can move on to crossing alone.
    03-03-2012, 07:22 PM
Sometimes, the best way I've seen is for someone to do is get off, grab the reins, and drag the horse through the water until they walk through it without freaking out. You'll get wet, but in the long run it'll be worth it.
    03-04-2012, 01:02 AM
Both of my mares hate the water!

Dandy has gotten better about it, she will walk across streams when there is absolutely NO OTHER WAY to get around it. Puddles she will still side step even if there are only a couple inches of dry ground. I think her problem is, is she can't see how deep it is. Plus there is mud in the water, so it's a little unstable.

The way I got her to start crossing creeks is one:
  1. Have an experienced horse cross in front of her.
  2. Start bending her head from left, to right, left, right. Not fast or hard, but while her head is bent to the left or right ask her to move forward. That way, she can't get collected up to jump over it! Not saying this is the way to do it, it's just what worked for Dandy!
Sasha doesn't like to step in puddles or water. I'm not sure why because she LOVES water out of a hose or in her water bucket. I can literally spray her in the face with the hose in the summer and she is like "AHHHH!!!" (of course not hard, but with a little pressure). She bites at it and everything. She'll splash and stand in her water bucket. It's funny. She'll walk up to puddles and if I stand in it and splash the water on her she'll swish her nose in the water and play. But she does NOT like to step in them. Probably a fear thing also. I have been working on it over the last few days though and it's been doing well! I got her to first walk across a puddle by putting a little grain in a plastic bucket and letting it float in the middle of the puddle -she had to walk out to the puddle to get the grain. That seem to relax her a bit. Good luck!
    03-07-2012, 12:07 PM
I guess I take for granted that the trails I ride are a freakin' mud-hole for much of the year. The horses just get used to walking through mud and standing water so it doesn't phase them at all.

I never really appreciated it until I went on a ride in the Big South Fork area of Tennessee a few years ago and many of the other riders were having trouble getting their horses to go through puddles. The horses were hopping over them, or skirting around them - often scraping their riders' legs on trees just to avoid the big, bad puddles.

Our horses just plodded right through like it was no big deal.

I'd be careful about dismounting at a puddle or ditch-crossing to try to hand-lead your horse, depending on the terrain. I know people who have tried it - the horse spooked at the water and jumped the ditch anyway AND knocked the person down and stepped on them in the process.

Take your time when you get to that obstacle, and be sure you're not the one getting "nervous" about it. That nervousness can travel right down the reins, the horse picks up on it and thinks that this must be a really legitimate thing to worry about.

Do you have a trail buddy who can ride ahead of you, whose horse will walk calmly through the obstacle? That can be a big help to boost your own horse's confidence.
    03-07-2012, 12:29 PM
Well, I have found a couple of things that work. The approaching very deliberately at an angle works, if you have the room. The bending the head also works, It is almost a half halt, but it makes them pay attention to you and not all the boogie monsters coming out of the ground or water.

I totally disagree with following closely behind another horse, as I too have seen them nearly jump onto of each other. Especially if it is truly fear driven. THen the mindset seems to be every man for themselves.

I did have one I had to train by physically getting off and walking across, but again, this is really pretty dangerous. I ended up taking a lead with me, getting of, clipping it under the chin through the bit, and leading across with enough space between us that he was not going to land on me-plus I was off to the side a little with my arm outstretched.

If it is a steep deep ditch, I will even zig zag my approach sometimes, but this is somewhat to help my old guy who has some hip issues.

Oh-and I have one of those who grew up in Big South Fork, crossing rivers....but a puddle in the driveway! HORRORS! Lol
    03-07-2012, 12:55 PM
I don't even attempt puddles, they will win because they can avoid it if it is too small. I tell my horse to go around it before he chooses to go around it. Pick your battles wisely.
    03-07-2012, 02:17 PM
Originally Posted by goneriding    
I don't even attempt puddles, they will win because they can avoid it if it is too small. I tell my horse to go around it before he chooses to go around it. Pick your battles wisely.
    03-10-2012, 08:16 AM
I have a shallow drainage ditch that crosses my pasture. They want to get to the best grass they cross it. Works like a charm on new ones that are hesitant.

jumping ditches

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