View Full Version : How do you train a horse to cross a river?
14th May 2002, 03:11 AM
I just bought a 4 year old mare and the people i got her from told me that she could bross rivers no problem and they crossed many rivers and creeks up byt there horse, but now, she wont even cross a puddle or a tiny creek! If the creek is like 2 feet wide she will hesitate and then jump it!:eek: If she cant jump it she wont go at all, but its not the jumping that worries me, its the fact that she wont croos a creek! So i think i will have to train her to cross a river and creek even thou shes done it before, but i dont know how.
Does anyone know how to train a horse to cross a river or creek?
14th May 2002, 07:45 AM
Hehe, I read the title and was going to immediately reply with the proverb: you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink.
How fast is the river flowing? Does she stand in puddles ok? The fact that she jumps it probably means that she's a touch wary about it.
Try to make crossing water a game. stop her right before the river (in hand - a bridle instead of a headcollar might be a good idea) and get a friend to get in the water and gently splash a little bit of water onto her feet while you talk reassuringly to her. If she seems nervous, stop splashing. You only want her to associate water with fun.
Let her nuzzle and paw the water before you ask her to go into it. Eventually she'll associate water with having fun, so just take it slowly.
Good Luck! :D
14th May 2002, 11:08 AM
our horses have to cross a broke to get to their nice green grass lol so they were pretty good crossing water when we rode... my horse was a little difficalt though. he got to the point where he was rearing :eek: (he once disided to jump the broke down in the fields instead of cross it... this is 10-15' across... the day after i started him with troting poles and he got up to 3' haha.. ok back to the water!
he is probly just scared and needs to realize he wont drown, he probly thinks this is over his head and doesn't trust you to get him through it ok... take your time and be pateint let him drink from it try to get a foot in it at first. just one foot, than his two front feet. let him stand in it if you can get him into it all the way... just let him drink from it ... than give him a little leg, keep you head up and try to get him across if he backs just keep you leg on him and talk to him and reassure him. try having another horse cross before you and follow right on the horses butt... stay on the other horse if you get left behind it wont help (if you can do this that it....and maybe a horse behind you too) once he is across it give him a BIG pat and he will most deffinatly want to cross it to get home (my horse never had a problem with that part) than he has just crossed it twice and he knows it wont kill him to go across. keep doing it if you want or call it a day, which ever you pefer :)
14th May 2002, 03:11 PM
Horses have very bad eyesight. Water confuses them, because they have no way of knowing how deep it is.
If your horse trusts you, she may follow you into the creek (wear tall rubber boots ;) ) or let you ride her in with much encouragement. She may also be willing to follow another horse in, since she will be able to see that horse made it into and out of the water without problems.
As with anything, take gradual steps and reward her for any movemet in the right direction.
Oh, and be careful--some horses want to ROLL in water, so if she starts to paw at the water make sure she can't get her head down.
14th May 2002, 04:24 PM
If you can, start with a ford that they can see the bottom off, recruit a friend whose horse you can follow over and start so you cross the stream going towards home. Also allow loads of time. It is a trust thing. Moss objected today to crossing a river going away from home which is deeper on the home bank than the away bank. He was nearly jumping down into it but we crossed eventually. Also if the territory is unknown front leg and knee boots are not a bad idea just in case.
14th May 2002, 04:29 PM
go out with another brave horse to set your hrose an example. Let her sniff the water and if she doesnt want to go in dont force her.
My hrose always has to sniff the water before she enters because the reflection of the sun dazzle her.
Anothe rhrose i know goes through water but only if SHE believes it is safe. If she thinks its not safe she wont go in - very sensible horse!!
14th May 2002, 05:17 PM
if he even refuses to go in after another horse, ditch staying in the saddle wear long boots and wade off in front of you horses, let your horse stiff it, drink it, and normally they are happier to follow.
do it a few times , then hop back on and do it on!!
i find fords worse they are often more slippery and make more noise than a stream or small river.
15th May 2002, 10:43 AM
We must have the same sort of horse lamprellsarah. Mine is exactly the same.
We have a small water obstacle at one of the cross country courses. I've taken her down there twice now on practice days and she will not go into the water. I've tried leading her down to it and trying to get her to follow others but no joy either.
This is similar to her ditch jumping experience. She spent 2 years refusing to jump them (and throwing me in them) and then a year ago, out of the blue, decided that it was a fun thing to do. She's now jumping them without any fear at all.
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