If it's not necessary to walk through the puddle - why do it?
Seriously folks. If your horse crosses the rivers, walks into ponds and lakes, what is the big deal about making a horse walk in a puddle?
I'm with Iride on this one. I don't force them to weave around to walk through every single puddle I see, but I don't allow them to weave around to walk around
them either. I tell the horse where to go and if that includes walking through a puddle, then "no" isn't an option. If I planned to let him
make the decision on what to do and where to go, why bother training him under saddle to start with
? Getting a horse to the point where they will walk through whatever happens to be in the road, whether it's a mud puddle or a tarp or a funky looking patch in the road can save a lot of grief and even injuries later.
The horse that so nonchalantly "skirts" the edge of the small puddle at a walk will dodge
to the side to avoid a big puddle at the faster gaits. Not everyone can ride those and even those that can may not be able to ride them every time.
To the OP. I also suspect that it's more of a respect issue with your mare. Lots and lots of proper riding and lots of exposure will make it better. To put it simply...yes, it is
as easy as lots of wet saddle pads and buttloads of exposure. Of course, some horses, especially those with a natural nervous disposition, will always be a bit spooky or hot and many times that cannot be trained out of them, only managed. Most horses are not like that though, most get better and better every ride or every time they are exposed to a certain thing.