Water Training!

Cash sporting his western saddle
Cash sporting his western saddle.

 

Whew the days are flying by! It is so easy to loose track of time with so much fun going on.

For the last two days I’ve gotten to actually ride Cash. I must say he has surpassed all my expectations!

When he was younger If I didn’t lunge him for a decent amount of time he would try to buck and carry on just because he would get excited or frustrated. Now granted I’m keeping our sessions short and sweet. No more then 30 minuets just to get his muscles used to working again and carrying my butt BUT he hasn’t put a hoof wrong!!! ((knock on wood!))  I’m such a proud lady!

With all this rain or arena has some standing water so it’s a new adventure.

What adventure is that? Why water training of course!

I worked with Cash and all our young horses in our puddles! I pulled on my rubber boots and grabbed some treats and headed out to the arena!

Now I approach this like everything else new that I teach even though for most of the beasties they have worked in water before.  When it comes to water I want to keep it as positive as possible. Water is a scary demon for most horses.

So what did I do? Well I walked out in the middle of the puddle and gave a little tug on the lead rope to give them the idea I wanted them to follow. Then I just stood there and relaxed. Every once in a while I’d give some clucks to remind them that I wanted them to come forward as most of the horses would stare hopefully from the waters edge probably hoping I’d change my mind, give them a treat and let them go eat grass.

Several of the youngsters walked the edge of the water and circled around it. I gave a light tug to redirect their heads toward me. After a few minuets of this they seem to realize they will have to come in to get the treat and eventially all of the horses walked cautiously but calmly into the water.

I rewarded them with said treat and lots of praise! Then I’d walk back out with them and do it again. It didn’t take long before they were all eagerly following me through all the water. One, a young three year old named Dollar (Jacks full sister) even started playing in the puddles!

For the young unbroken horses I keep working until they are confidently going through the water then I stop there and give them a good brushing before putting them away.

With Cash, he got to repeat the process with me on him and he was a champ! It took him a few minuets with me in the saddle and some light pressure with my legs for him to go forward, but just like on the ground I didn’t push him. If he tried to walk around it I just kept him facing the puddles and would give a light squeeze with my legs and some clucks to go forward and I just sat in the saddle and waited. I never wanted to try and rush him in. I want it to be his choice to step in without more then light coaxing from me.

Once he put his hooves in the water I would praise him and sometimes I even reach forward and give him a treat when he was standing in the water to reiterate that it was a good thing!

Cash doesn’t like trotting or cantering through water yet. I think the splashing water on his belly bugs him but he’s taken a huge step forward!   But thats something else to work on if the puddles stick around for any length of time!!

If you Event water training is a must! Eventually you’ll have to jump into and out of the water, and you’ll still have to cross water even at the lowest levels. If your more into trail riding eventually you’ll come to a point where you will have to cross water, even if it’s just a tiny stream or a puddle a crossed the trail. Take every opportunity to make water a happy experience for them!

How do you all convince your horses the water won’t swallow them whole?

2 thoughts on “Water Training!

  1. Shantie Magat says:

    I use my dogs whom happen to love water. I’ll bring them along to hidden Mesa in the spring, I’ll let the horse watch the dogs at first, when I notice horse is relaxed then I’ll ask , It doesn’t take long before dogs and horses are moving up the creek ( dogs are also herd members )

    • rockinglr says:

      I never would have thought that the dogs going through the water would help the horses. I’ll defiantly have to remember this! 😀 Thanks for sharing!!

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