You never know when a creek will appear on a new trail path. Your horse should be comfortable crossing water before any big trail adventures or you could be stuck turning back. With patience and practice, you’ll have a trusty trail partner that’ll gladly cross water for you.
Tips for Crossing Water
- Get your horse use to walking through puddles before you tackle anything big. You can even create your own with a shovel and hose. Leave the hose running to replicate moving water.
- Ask fellow trail riders for recommendations on paths with small creeks and open space. You want something easy for their first off-farm experience.
- Let an experienced horse lead the way. Your horse is more likely to follow willing if they don’t want to be left behind.
- Be ready for baulking. It may take several rides through water before your horse is confident.
- Survey the ground and edges of the creek or stream. Very rocky terrain can be slippery and hard on barefoot hooves. Swampy soil can cause your horse to get bogged down.
- When in doubt, trust your horse. Their instincts are strong and usually reliable!
- Don’t be in a rush. Allow your horse to stop, sniff, paw, and examine the water. Some may even take a drink from it.
- If necessary, hop off your horse and work them on the ground around the water. Let them relax once they step closer to it.
- Walk back and forth over the water a few times. Practice makes perfect!
- Don’t forget your helmet! Their reaction could be bigger than you expected. If you fall, you want your head protected.
Water doesn’t have to be scary! With these tips, you can give your horse the confidence they need.