Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Linus vs. Water!!

I was done work early today and it worked out great that I worked while it was raining and the sun was out when I was done! It was very cool and windy though! But, I only have about 6 weeks at most to attack water crossings with Linus before the water turns to ice! So, I put on my rain suit and rubber boots and grabbed his rope halter and a long rope. I'm having trust issues with the halters after that one breaking on me on the weekend. To my delight, even after a 4 hour ride on Sunday; Linus was happy to see me and eager to see what my plan was....he was eager then anyway!



We started out small with a little puddle in his pasture. I had a training whip in my hand but it was a nuisance more than anything so that lasted about 2minutes! I was doing a bit of research and a great tip I read was to make sure the water crossing was more than 10m otherwise the horse would just jump over it. 
We left his pasture from the back end through the electric wires but this time I was smart enough to unplug the fence since double wires are trickier with a horse in hand than a single!

So we moved on to the second crossing seen below. Linus was pretty full of himself in the cool, strong wind but anytime he got too forward I made him back off and told him off for it! He did well and tuned back in to me. He walked calmly through this one with me. It's hard to keep my footing in the mud and persuade him!


There is a spot in the cow pasture that is always flooded unless it is a very, very dry summer. It drains off into a creek off our property. We've had a lot of night rains recently so I gradually got him into muddier and stickier footing the closer we got to it. He tried to go around but I was alone today and had time to stick to my guns!! I waited him out and he eventually came into the water. Bit by bit.


He was trembling a bit at one point. The sun and wind helped me to come to the conclusion that I think his reluctance has more to do with ripples, reflections and shimmers than the water itself. I can hose him down head to toe with no issues. But I noticed that when the sun was shimmering bright on the water, he didn't like it! He did however notice that some very sweet grass can grow throughout the water!


The picture below was my goal for today. The middle is deep and almost over my rubber boots and almost up to Linus' knees. I'll admit we had a battle and it took a lot of patience. I have be very careful when pushing Linus. It has to be done calmly and patiently and the right kind of persuasion. If you get too pushy, he will just push right back. He has a strong willed mind and I love that about him and do not want to change it! I have to work WITH that and not AGAINST it! 


Perseverance paid off though and when he did walk across it, he did it calm and right beside me! I was thrilled because I did expect him to rush it! I made a huge deal out of it with lots of rubs and an apple. Partway through I stopped him but didn't dare take a picture for fear of dropping my phone!! When I stopped him though he started splashing and I laughed! It was a total stress relieving moment!!
The cows were starting to come up then and he wanted to go move them so I left the pasture through the gate near the barn and we worked on some smaller areas of water nearer to his corral. I was proud that even though we were out of sight of Allie and she was calling he never once answered and in an hour only looked that way twice! So, our separation training seems to be holding steady too! At the end of our session today I ended up with more mud on me than he did!! But, I kept telling him if I could do so could he! I am NOT going to start bringing rubber boots on a trail ride!! 
I work all day tomorrow but am really going to try to attack the water crossing while mounted as soon as I can. There's a good chance we will have to cross water this weekend on the Halloween ride!
My son has been helping me with our costume...yep a 5 year old is giving me advice to make sure I get it right, but hey I am all for it!! He's being a great helper!



9 comments:

  1. Excellent lesson! Good for you and Linus! You know how to work with your horse.

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  2. When I saw the title, I thought...wow, Donna and I think alike!! Tackle those issues with baby steps! Good for you. What a great opportunity to start your slow and easy process to water on the trail. The biggest thing with water is that they don't quite understand that the big black area is water...it looks like a black hole. So you just have to allow them to sniff it so they know...'ah, it's water!" =] And those green nibblets sure help! Those scary black holes give me food! LOL Some horses also don't like the soft mucky ground...thinking they will sink forever....but once they understand that too...they won't panic so much. So it's not that Linus is being naughty...he really sees this as a possible life or death situation. I think that's why horses splash in it at first...they are trying to figure it out. Your patience with him is key and just keep building that trust. Go Donna and Linus!!

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    1. I remember the first time I crossed a river in North Dakota, the little Missouri to be truthful, We had never crossed before and it was a great learning experience for the both of us , since that time we have lead many a horse and rider across rapid moving water, I must admit though, we did not take baby steps , but I used the method of riding and making larger rings until you are in the water, Curly boy is like your horse, AWESOME and you will have a great horse Donna , he is already awesome

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  3. Thanks so much for the encouragement and advice!!! I do agree Denise that he seems bothered by the sinking mud!! It was a boggy spot we were in which made a great workout for me!! Had to keep my own footing and hang onto him!! Harold if I had been alone on the trail the other day I would have stayed as long as it took. We were so close but the girls weren't comfortable hanging around the main road so another day!! I'm happy though that he did cross where I wanted to yesterday, he did it slowly and we'll definitely be at it again!! Maybe not until tomorrow or Friday but we'll get there. Next year I want to go swimming with him!!

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    1. Oh boy I want to see the pictures swimming, what a rush to do, I have no doubt you will get there and soon.

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    2. I also believe that you and Linus have a connection most riders will never have, so there is no doubt about you training him to do most anything, maybe even house break him..... If you remember Roy Rogers he had Trigger house broke,

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    3. Sometime I would like to go swimming with AhD, too. There is a small lake in Poland that would be perfect for it. We have been out up to the stirrups, but no further yet.

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  4. Ha ha Harold!! I do have the Roy Rogers box set!! Love that show!! And I did train a heifer once who walked up the front steps of the house and the only reason she didn't go in the house was because my Mom was there! Her favourite snack was carrots and the other kids at shows called her "carrot cow"
    Susan, there is a beachy area about a 10 minute trailer ride away. Bernie and Lucas have gone swimming there so we're hoping to do that next summer!! Can't wait!! In up to your stirrups is pretty deep!!

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  5. Excellent! Maybe we should all have a virtual swimming party!

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