Teach Your Horse To Cross Water.
When you’re out and about on your horse, you could come across water you need to cross, and if your horse isn’t taught and ready it could put an end to your journey. Training your horse to cross water will open up where you can take your horse.
The first and most important step is to plan what you are going to do to train your horse. The first thing to start the training is to set up water challenges. You need to introduce your horse to water instead you jump in the deep end trying and cross it.
Start by going to a little canal and seeing how relaxed your horse is and how close they get to the canal before showing tension. Try to train them at a quiet time of day with no cars, riders or anything else to distract them around. Doing it at a quiet time will make your horse more comfortable and they are less likely to get anxious.
The main reason horses won’t cross water is because it is something completely new to them so they will be fearful. When first training, don’t push your horse too much, this isn’t a short process, if they are pushed they will get more anxious and maybe never cross water.
When training your horse to do anything, patience is key because if you get stressed, your horse will also get stressed out.
A great thing to do is make what you are doing positive for your horse, say walk towards the water and when your horse is relaxed give them a treat or stroke their favourite spot so they are getting a reward out of it. After doing this a few times, it will put the horse more at ease and will make them want to carry on/ do it more as they are getting a good thing out of the experience.
Doing it this way means you can progress easier, so when your horse is comfortable where you stopped them, next time move them closer, then to the edge of the water and then standing in the water and so on. If you have friends/family who ride and their horse is comfortable with being in and around water, you could also get them to come with you. This will show your horse there isn’t anything to be scared of and should relax your horse more.
While getting your horse to train to do something new, you must always practice often. If you only do it once a month, your horse is going to gain confidence and then loose it and have to start all over again every time you do it. Do the same thing over and over but by different canals, rivers, puddles etc. These will all be different sizes and depths, so your horse doesn’t just get use to the one type of water.
This process can be a bit boring and repetitive, but if you want to cross water with your horse you have to just push through!