How to Handle Water Crossings When Horseback Riding

Many horses have a strong and innate fear of stepping in water.? If your horse is one, you will understand the frustration of having your horse plant his feet in front of a large puddle or small stream, refusing to go any further.? This is an incredibly exasperating experience for any rider, and may often result in the use of force to attempt to get the horse to cross.? However, as with any training, force might provide an immediate solution, but it will not get your horse to trust you or the situation, and you will likely encounter more serious problems next time.? It is important to understand that because of the way a horse?s eyes are set on his head, it is impossible for him to have the depth perception that we have.? Therefore, while we look at a puddle and can see how deep it is, for your horse, it is a giant black hole.? You will need great trust from your horse to get him to risk his life stepping into that.

Try getting your horse used to water back home, in his familiar surroundings.? You might use a hose to make a puddle in a certain part of the field or paddock, or even pour water onto a tarp.? You can then work quietly and calmly with your horse to increase his confidence.? You might try having another horse walk through the puddle first.? Take your time and end each session on a good note.? If your horse is willing to make just a small amount of effort more than he was yesterday, that?s good enough.? It might be walking closer to the puddle, sniffing it, or even putting one foot in.? Don?t force the issue and be happy with your progress, however slow.? Before long, you and your horse will be merrily splashing through water!


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