Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider

Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider
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Monday, May 17, 2010

Is Your Horse Afraid of Water or Mud?

What do you do when you are outside riding, and there is a small amount of water to cross, or even a small stream? What about just mud? Why does your horse refuse to cross?

Actually, I think crossing mud is harder. Horses start to sink as they walk into the edge of a muddy hole as compared to walking across the hard footing of streams.

Today, I worked with a training horse who does not like the sinking feeling of mud. I took advantage of all the rain that we have had. My one horse lot has a couple of low spots where the water is laying. I moved some horses around and put some horses out on the grass to graze. The training horse was put into the big lot to become accustomed to the lot and the terrain. He ran around for awhile, as he could see the horses on the other side of the fence, grazing, but he couldn’t get to them.

Putting the training horse on a lunge line, I lead him to one of the wet areas. Water had made a large water hole in one area of the lot. I sent him out on the lunge line, asking him to get closer to the wet area. Actually, there was only a moment of hesitation and side stepping away from the water, but the next time he came around on the lunge circle, he went right through the water! The area was a little mucky, but he didn’t act as if he was scared. He didn’t act like he wanted to jump or refuse. This is going better than I expected.

He did get excited, though and tried to lope past me and into the lot. I put the chain over his nose for further control. The next time he circle around me, and tried to keep loping past me to get to another area, I pulled him sharply towards me. He didn’t try to run past me after those 2 attempts.

I turned him on the lunge line, to circle him from the other direction into the water. He tried to evade the wet mud and go around the water. The next lunge circle he went through the water. We circled the wet area from both directions and went through the water 3 or 4 times each direction.

I moved over to an area in the lot that is more mud than water. The training horse seemed scared to move into deep mud, and had sidestepped an area in the area that had a lot of wet sand. He seemed light on the front end, and I wanted to make sure that he wasn’t going to be scared or try to bolt. He went through these muddy areas well, with no hesitation. I circled him on the lunge line from both directions. He was listening well and stopping when I asked him to.

Tomorrow, I’ll saddle him and lunge him through the wet areas. If he is good, then I’ll ride him in the muddy areas and go into the tree area. I want to be riding him around the trees and through the brushy areas.

I hope I don’t get muddy tomorrow!


txtrigger said...

Thankfully, Hank has not had issue with either. But if a horse ever gets really bogged down, that can sure create a fear.

Region 6 is known for mud and bogs and water! lol

luvriden said...

Hope you don't get muddy :-)


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