Water!!! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 04-02-2009, 02:14 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Western Mass
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Ive always wanted to be able to teach my horse to swim with me. ive never tried it before, and not too sure if i even have a good spot around here to do it. But i finally just bought my first horse a few weeks ago and come to find out, he wont even cross a 2 foot wide brook . So my sights are set a little lower right now. i want to get him comfortable with crossing water safely without jumping around like an idiot. What has everyone else done with problems like this? i know i shouldnt get off and lead him through it. When i lead him from the pasture to the barn there are huge puddles that i make him walk through and he does, but not very happily. any ideas??? thank!
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post #2 of 14 Old 04-02-2009, 02:42 PM
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I dont know any tricks, when we got our horses we just were patient w/ them and let them check it out(sniff,snort and splash)then gently ask them to cross. I think I may have promised carrots and cookies LOL. I guess we got lucky w/ our jugheads, they go thru BIG deep puddles and raging creeks and even go into the lake up to their knees. I have heard that horses have bad or no depth perception and their fear of water is they may think its a hole or just a fear of the depth.Im sure someone will post w/ some great advice.
You are correct on not to lead them thru incase they jump and land on you.Good luck dear.

The grass may be greener on the other side,
but it still has to be mowed.
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post #3 of 14 Old 04-02-2009, 03:19 PM
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Some horses are worse than others. Vida (my horse) doesn't have a problem with the water, its the mud that surrounds it she dislikes
Horses have very poor depth perception so it difficult for them to see where their foot is going when they have to look through water. Be patient safe and reassuring. Most horses get it eventually.
I'm not sure how great it would be to swim with a horse. I always thought it would be cool to swim with my dogs. Then I got a German Shepherd that loves to swim but wants to "rest" on me. Not pleasant having those dog toenails and wet hair all over you in deep water. I can't imagine having a horse want to do the same

"Until one has loved an animal, part of one's soul remains unawakened..."
- Anatole France
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post #4 of 14 Old 04-03-2009, 05:03 AM
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I would recommend taking him through some shallow water ( maby knee height ) to start with following another horse that is experienced and has no problem with water.

Puddles are almost slightly different ....the way i see it. for instance , my horse Banjo has times when he will have a little shy at a puddle...but he looooooves water other wise.....if its say knee height or more. hes been swimming before with me, and heck we have even galloped through some water , not too deep tho....just a bit below the knee.

So i would ...yea ....say find some place with a streach or section of water....more than that of a puddle , and follow some one experienced through. Be aware about the horse wanting to roll too, let the horse touch the water and investigate but be ready to push them forward at the first sign of wanting to roll.

I did this when taking my horse foxy out. he was a show horse and seemed to have never been ridden outside of paddocks/arenas. Took him through water at the beach which was at his knees or a bit higher following my other horse. he was a little nervy at first but followed. I let him have a snif and lick...basicly just let him touch it and investigate. hes not 100% about it yet but enough to get through saftely. And he doesnt mind having a splash
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post #5 of 14 Old 04-03-2009, 07:00 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone! I will definetly try to get someone to lead us to through and see how it goes. i dont think we're quite ready for knee deep yet, he can barely get through the puddles, and i was trying to hold him back when hed start to fuss at the water, not really letting him check it out much so ill try to let him figure it out. thanks for all the info and suggestions
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post #6 of 14 Old 04-03-2009, 11:46 PM
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Texas
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When I'm adjusting my horses to the trail, I always keep this in my mind: "My horse will do what is the least amount of work."

If my mare balks at the edge of water (or any "scary" obstacle), I turn her around quickly and either lope the other way, or turn her in circles. Then I stop, and ask again. I repeat until she sees that crossing water is MUCH less work than loping and turning circles. :] It usually only takes one session of this to get them used to it, because they A) realize that it's easier to do what you're asking the first time, and B) realize that it doesn't hurt/isn't scary, and will trust you to make the call in the future.

However, my mare REFUSES to cross railroad tracks - she trusts me more to back her up over them than she trusts herself to walk forward over them. So we have to go backward over railroad tracks... 0.o
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post #7 of 14 Old 04-04-2009, 12:13 AM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Enumclaw WA
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Today when me and hubby rode, he was on the new TB we got.Never been ridden on trails/woods til we got him and he's only had a few rides under his belt. He is very trusting and it helps to follow another horse.Many times he was leading when we came to those huge muddy puddles(rather deep)and he would cross carefully and cautiously.He was awesome, even when I went first thru our lil raging creek he followed. He entered and walked w/ water rushing under his belly and did great. He did give a lil crow hop when he was high and dry, but I think that was more of a "yeah I did it!!!"
I cant wait to read your progress.

The grass may be greener on the other side,
but it still has to be mowed.
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post #8 of 14 Old 04-04-2009, 03:38 PM
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I've swam with a horse once and it was a lot of fun. Just make sure you wear a helmet and protective footwear. I would also recommend being able to ride your horse bareback well! When we went we wore shorts and tanktops. The horse I had then LOVED to swim. It was a lot of fun. The worst thing you can do, however, is fall off. Its pretty easy to stay on while they can't touch the ground, but you could easily fall off and get trapped under their feet. D: That would not be good!

All I pay my psychiatrist is the cost of feed and hay, and he'll listen to me any day. ~Author Unknown
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post #9 of 14 Old 04-04-2009, 07:13 PM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Enumclaw WA
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Hmm Im a newbie and cant swim anyhow so this doesnt(or wont ever)pertain to me but I heard you should not stay on their backs while they swim, something to do with hindering their ability. But if you've done it I guess I heard wrong lol.

The grass may be greener on the other side,
but it still has to be mowed.
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post #10 of 14 Old 04-04-2009, 07:40 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Riverside, CA
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I never swam on my own horse, the water in Washington was too cold! But, we did wade in the ocean, through creeks, etc.

When i was in Mexico we got to take horses down to the beach and swim. It is a cool feeling once they start swimming. You can't really stay on their backs anyways, you float up. Just hang onto their mane very tight!

Riverside, CA
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