How to Teach a Horse to Cross Water
Q.My mare is great on trails, but we’ve yet to have a successful water crossing (she’d rather jump over than step in). She’s happy to get wet and wallow in the mud when her water trough overfills on a hot day, but she won’t cross a creek or canal. This year, however, we have some big rides planned that will require river crossings that are too wide for her to jump. I have an irrigation canal near my house where I’m planning to train her to cross using treats. Would it be better to introduce her to the canal before it’s filled with water, or should I wait until water is flowing? What recommendations do you have for training a horse to confidently cross water?
—Emily, via e-mail
A.Refusing to cross standing or moving water is common in horses and can put a damper on an otherwise fabulous trail ride. As with your horse, many will vault over a puddle or flatly refuse to step into a stream. Training a horse to calmly and confidently cross water takes planning, patience, and
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