Pat Parelli: teaching a horse to enter the water
For many riders to ride bareback along the shore of a pond on a hot summer day is a very attractive prospect. An amazing, fabulous picture … only if the horse enters the water with pleasure. And if not?
“A water barrier can be one of the most frustrating and dangerous obstacles in your horse’s life,” says Pat Parelli.
Many horses are skeptical of crossing the water, unless of course this is not their usual occupation. Horses are true survival experts, and they are extremely susceptible to changes in their environment. Water can make even a confident horse doubt, because it is difficult for her to determine the depth. As a result, the horse can decide what steps into the endless dark abyss. Immediately, the instinct of the animal sacrifice is also connected, which tells us to strive to avoid everything that interferes with the legs, interferes with free movement.
Pat believes that both horses and riders have their own “responsibilities” to make their partnership harmonious. If both partners fulfill their duties, crossing the water and any other problems become much easier.
act as a partner, not a prey animal;
Do not change the gait unless the rider asks for it;
Do not change direction unless the rider asks;
look where she goes.
act as a partner, not as a predator;
have an independent fit and have sufficient experience so as not to interfere with the movement of the horse;
think like a horse before you think like a man.
Start in familiar conditions
Your horse’s first exposure to water should take place in a safe and relaxed home environment. Before you try to cross the water in a forest or field, your horse must learn to stand still during water procedures (swimming). If she doesn’t like when you water her legs, doesn’t like to stand in a puddle, you can hardly expect her to go into the water in unusual conditions. Take the time to work with her on this. Get an adequate response to home water treatments. Let the horse sniff water and drink from the hose if she shows a tendency to it.
You can also prepare your horse for a meeting with water by asking her to walk on unusual objects such as durable plywood sheets or tarpaulins. This is an excellent simulation of overcoming water, because it helps the horse to begin to feel more confident and not worry when she has to put her feet on an unknown surface that is different from ordinary solid ground. When she walks through these objects without fear or hesitation, it will be easier for her to believe and make sure that the water is also safe.
Even a horse that plays with water at home might think when you first ask her to walk in the water outside the stable. This is where your work as a leader becomes especially important. The confidence of your horse depends on you.
If you do everything right, the horse will stop thinking about water and will think about trusting you and his confidence. It’s almost the same as loading a horse – it’s not a horse, but whether the horse trusts you when you tell it that it’s safe there. When trust, confidence and leadership are firmly established, your horse will willingly load in a horse carrier, cross the water and do almost everything you ask her about.
“It’s very important for a horse to entrust you with a decision,” Pat says. “She may have a special mental, emotional and physical condition, as well as a heightened sense of self-preservation.”
To become the leader that your horse needs in moments of unusual complex situations, for example, when crossing the water, you first need to create a connection.
“The horses of most riders do not have a good go button,” Pat explains. – First you need to work on improving this button and develop a good response to the request to move forward. She must respect the pressure of your legs and immediately begin to move when you use it. If she doesn’t do this, use a whip or a chibur to touch her hind legs and make her move forward in response to the tightening of the shankels. ”
Work on improving the Go button before you get close to the water. Your horse must react to your shenkel correctly before you run into any obstacle.
According to Pat, the most common mistake riders make is to focus on the water, not the destination.
“A typical mistake that riders make is that they look at the water and not focus on the right subject,” says Pat. “Instead of looking at the water, riders should look where they are going.” Focus on something behind the water, not the water. Focus is important because it affects your feeling, timeliness and balance. When you drive a car, you are not looking at the steering wheel, you are looking forward where you are moving. The more focused you are, the better you can use your seat, legs and arms.