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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Today, I spent a good 10 minutes standing in a mud puddle for my horse.
I was trying to get him into the paddock but it wasnt until he decided to squeeze himself between the rail and puddle. My boots and chaps are now soaked, and covered in horse hair (Thanks to shedding season.)

We had this problem before with water. He finds ways around it, but only once has he went into a puddle to splash around.

How can I correct this problem with Murray, so he enters freely and not me having to force him. Thanks.
 

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Exactly what you're doing. Make a puddle in the doorway of a gate, then work with him to go through it. Maybe put some hay on the other side, but don't use it as a lure, just as a reward for going over the puddle calmly....i.e. no dancing or jigging.

I was once riding a 16.3 warmblood who was a very nice schooling horse. It was a 3 day long clinic, and on the second day, all of the students went out on the trail. The instructor failed to tell me (during the height of hurricane season) that her horse did not like puddles. Whilst on the trail, he spooked at a little river maybe my hand width wide. He didn't bolt, but I had to get off this 16.3 horse and hand walk him until the river was gone. The whole time he was dancing and running in to me like there was a monster about to creep up on him from this little riverlet. I am 5'2, so it was very hard for me to mount back up on this horse when the time came. Way too much work was involved.

It would have been nice if that instructor had invested the time to desensitize him to standing water outside of a water trough.
 

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Its not always that easy! My litle mare is deathly afraid of water - she freaks out is a horse near her splashes. I've had for for a few months now. I've been ponying her on lots of trails - she will run or jump through water when I drag her through with no choice, but only puddles, and anythig deeper I hve failed to get her over yet. I think it will just be a long process of slowly getting used to t with her.
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i have a horse that was the same it would dodge puddles all the time we took him to a river managed to walk him in and washed him out ,ever since then he dos,ent bother
 

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It's not necessarily the 'water' that's your problem. It may be that he can't see the 'bottom', and that he doesn't trust that there's a solid base.

I like Jimmy's idea better...take him to a creek with a solid, easy to walk on bottom that he can see, and work him there. It may also help to work the horse prior, get him a bit tired, therefore less likely to resist, and thirsty.
 

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It's not necessarily the 'water' that's your problem. It may be that he can't see the 'bottom', and that he doesn't trust that there's a solid base.

I like Jimmy's idea better...take him to a creek with a solid, easy to walk on bottom that he can see, and work him there. It may also help to work the horse prior, get him a bit tired, therefore less likely to resist, and thirsty.
we did have another horse with him that went in first,so whether that made it easier it probably did
 

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i know more horses who wont go through a puddle but will jump right in a stream/river/lake/water complex etc. i agree with mercedes about finding something with a solid bottom they can see
 
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some times its the reflections as well that can put a horse off of going through a puddle, sometimes making the horse walk over plastic sheets on the ground can help too. i also agree with mercedes
 

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I had to teach my young guy to go through water so I carefully picked a big
puddle that he could not jump and one he could not easily go around and then I just picked a time and decided today, right now was the day he would learn to go through water.
I steadied him with the reins and kept bumping him with the spurs. He tried cutting left and right but I presisted on steadying him. He backed up and I pressured him with the spur. He reared, he backed into trees but I presisted until he suddenly just up and walked through the water. We did it 2 or 3 times that day, again the next few days and from that time on he never refused any water crossing agian.
If I am running roads during the wet season I pick water logged ditches all the time just to test, just to keep him in practice.
For my method it takes a strong rider, one ready to go anywhere the horse wants to take him but 5 to 10 minutes and I have a horse walking through water.
It does hlep if you have another rider that can go through the water ahead of you but I prefer to fight my own battles alone
 

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I agree with riosdad. I've done this with 5-7 horses and it always pays off.

One thing I'd suggest, if you don't mind, is taking the hose and really topping off that puddle in the gate so there are no areas he can slip through to avoid the puddle. It'll dry up.

A: Never stand on one side of a puddle directly in front of the horse and try to pull it across. Chances are very good that it will decide to jump the puddle and jump straight for you. NOT fun. Learned that one at about 13 years old. Haha.

So, lead the horse to the gate/puddle and don't even look at it or the horse, just keep walking forward. The horse will inevitably stop. Walk right into the puddle, and slosh around. Walk back out. Circle around, repeat. If it is really taking a long time and is a huge struggle, consider carrying a dressage whip or lunge whip in your off hand facing backwards. Tap the horse as you are walking forwards to encourage that forward movement.

I've resorted to standing in the water and sloshing it up on the horses feet. Eventually they are desensitized to it.

It really just takes persistence. The horse has to go in the paddock, and he will. Just don't get mad and angry and take it out on the horse.



We spent 3 hours out on the trail getting a horse to cross a 2ft wide creek. He eventually gave in, we walked through it 5 more times, and he didn't care at all anymore.
 

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I ended up bribing one of my horses with treats. Before that she would see the puddle and run backwards. Wasn't fun at all and I was pretty inexperienced at the time and I didn't want her falling back on me.

Took my second horse 15mins to go through a puddle and I used riosdad's method (didn't have spurs at the time). Only took that ONE lesson to make her realize that puddles or creaks are not horse eaters.
 

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You can try backing him through the puddle as well.

The best results I have seen are with the company of another horse or more. When everyone else is leaving your guy behind, he'll be far more encouraged to swim that scarey ocean. Just did this the other day actually with a friend's 4 yr old that wouldn't cross the watery ditch. I crossed, still no go. I headed out of sight and he crossed then! This works best away from the barn so the horse is more concerned about being left behind.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for all the great information everyone. I wasn't riding him at the times of these water issues, but it really is great to a have ontop lesson on all this. Thanks alot!

If you have more to share, do tell!
 

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i wound up finding out how afraid my horse was of water while we were going down my drive. there was as puddle he wouldn't go through, so we stood there and i pressured him to go through. bumped him with my heels and direct reigned him through it finally.

when we got back around the house, we went to the north end of one of the ponds where it's shallow and repeated it a few times til he went in. walked around a few times and he got the hint that it wasn't so bad.

now he'll go through. haven't been able to get him to lope into it, but that's ok. just the fact that i don't have to worry about him not going through at all now is great.
 

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Has she had a bad experience with water before? 'Cause the mare that I ride one day was being babysitted(lol) and she was playing in the water and I believe that she slipped and it freaked her out , so now if your walking her(even w/ halter and bridle) she will slide through and manages to slip by all the puddles to the arena. And we live in a very rainy place! So I try to force her through water puddles, but so far not so good so great thread.
 

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I had this issue before. Tried to get my horse to walk through a muddle knee deep puddle in the pasture. He wouldnt. I kept coaxing.

Things went from a refusal to just being down right disrespectful. He kicked and bit at my feet and was down right rude. I ended up getting ****ed. (back before I had worked on my anger issues)

I decided he just had a respect issue. Lunged him for respect for a while...looking back this was incorrect but I was young an dumb and it did get a good result.

Got back on walked him to the puddle. he danced for a minute but didnt give me and crap like before and finally walked in. After he was in the puddle you could see it click in his head. It was like he thought "****...If I had trusted her that there was a bottom to this thing I wouldnt have had to work so hard..."

Since then he will walk into anything I ask him to. Be it mud, puddles, creeks...anything. We have also grown to trust each other more though too.

Now just because that goof up of mine worked doesnt mean thats my advice. Watter issues are fear issue usually and trust issues. Build up some trust and approach the water. Use a treat or something to keep your horses attention focused on you and not the water. If your lucky you can get him in the water and make him stand. Give him treats, associate the water with good things and good feelings. After a minute he will prob have the "Hmm...why was I so scared of this?" thought.

If you want a different way, you could try the "make the water the easier road" option. Ride him up to it. If he refuses make him do circles and back up and such, make him work. Ask for him to cross the water again. He refuses make him work more. If he does go into the water let him stand there and rest. Praise him, give him treats and rewards. Its the same method clinton anderson uses to teach horses to trailer. Make the water the easier option, less work, horses are animals of least resistance.

After that its all about being consistent. Once your horse trusts that you know there is a bottom to the water he should walk through it without a fuss.
 

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I had this issue before. Tried to get my horse to walk through a muddle knee deep puddle in the pasture. He wouldnt. I kept coaxing.

Things went from a refusal to just being down right disrespectful. He kicked and bit at my feet and was down right rude. I ended up getting ****ed. (back before I had worked on my anger issues)

I decided he just had a respect issue. Lunged him for respect for a while...looking back this was incorrect but I was young an dumb and it did get a good result.

Got back on walked him to the puddle. he danced for a minute but didnt give me and crap like before and finally walked in. After he was in the puddle you could see it click in his head. It was like he thought "****...If I had trusted her that there was a bottom to this thing I wouldnt have had to work so hard..."

Since then he will walk into anything I ask him to. Be it mud, puddles, creeks...anything. We have also grown to trust each other more though too.

Now just because that goof up of mine worked doesnt mean thats my advice. Watter issues are fear issue usually and trust issues. Build up some trust and approach the water. Use a treat or something to keep your horses attention focused on you and not the water. If your lucky you can get him in the water and make him stand. Give him treats, associate the water with good things and good feelings. After a minute he will prob have the "Hmm...why was I so scared of this?" thought.

If you want a different way, you could try the "make the water the easier road" option. Ride him up to it. If he refuses make him do circles and back up and such, make him work. Ask for him to cross the water again. He refuses make him work more. If he does go into the water let him stand there and rest. Praise him, give him treats and rewards. Its the same method clinton anderson uses to teach horses to trailer. Make the water the easier option, less work, horses are animals of least resistance.

After that its all about being consistent. Once your horse trusts that you know there is a bottom to the water he should walk through it without a fuss.
I don't see where you goofed up. You did make going through water the easier option--he refused, you said okay let's work really hard in a circle, then you said, now would you like to just go through the water? And he said, not such a bad idea after all.

This idea that using treats is "bribing" really frustrates me. Bribery is a human concept with the connotation that the bribee didn't earn it. Training animals with a food reward is a time-honored practice that has proven results over and over. If you ask the horse to do something and it does it, it HAS earned a reward, and food is about the best reward you can give it.
 

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Hi, my horse is refusing to go through a stream that we have to cross on a hack we do. She used to go through it fine and she will go through puddles of any size and any other water, but just not this stream. We have tried leading with another horse, leading her off the ground, used treats, wet her legs, blocking her in with other horses to guide her through it but nothing seems to work. You can see the bottom of the stream and it isn't very big but she just keeps refusing to go through it, even when you tap her on with a crop. What other techniques could I try with her ???
 
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