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Re: [RC] Drinking from Streams - April

One thing that I do with my horses. I have taught them both the "head down" cue,
both from the ground and from the saddle. Ground cue is my hand on their poll.
Saddle cue is jiggling the reins until the head drops.

When I approach water that I want them to acknowledge (and drink!), I give the
head down cue until their muzzles touch the water. After they do, I wait for a
few seconds and ask again. And at least a 3rd or 4th time before I let them move
on. If they don't drink, then at least I know they knew the water was there.

Tanna, my 10-year-old-tomorrow gelding, knows the drill. Sometimes he'll try to
avoid the water, putting his head parallel to the water, but I insist.
Sometimes, he'll dunk his muzzle in the first two times, but won't drink until
the 3rd or 4th asking. Sometimes he doesn't drink at all. That's ok as long as
he is drinking sometimes. He's drinking a lot more on training rides this year
and I haven't started electrolyting him yet. It pleases me to no end.

Serts, my 15 yo free lease, is still in the learning phase. He rarely drinks
when asked, but he FINALLY drank from a large puddle last week after about 18
miles of a 20 mile ride. Guess he decided we just weren't going home. :-) He has
been doing ok on drinking back at home from the water trough before I let him
go, but the drinking while out was a great victory.

Oh, another thing my boys both like, especially Tanna. Grass in standing water.
When it rains here, water puddles in the pastures (which I ride right outside
the fences). So there are numerous places with standing water over grass. Tanna
will suck down some water, then eat the grass from under the water. Or start
eating the grass and decides he really does want a drink.

But, especially with Tanna, if I offer and they don't drink, we move on. I used
to fall for Tanna's "I'll stretch my head down toward the water, she'll think
I'll drink, and we won't go for a few more minutes." I don't anymore. I give him
a decent chance and move on.

Oh, and I do make a big deal when they drink. Voice praising, a pat, and
occasionally a piece of carrot if I have one.

Maybe there's something in there you can use. :-)

Nashville, TN

On Thu, 11 Mar 2004 07:39:11 -0500, Kari Hanes wrote:
I had the most wonderful experience on my training ride yesterday! My
horse, for the first time, actually drank from a stream! I know it's a
small thing (my friends think I'm nuts for making such a big deal out of
it). My question is how do I keep her comfortable doing it? She took a
drink then pawed in it a little and moved on. This is a very small
stream we pass over every time we ride so it really took me by suprise
that she stopped to investigate, usually she just steps over it. The
larger streams we've crossed while competing she looks at as a 10' wall
and usually jumps as high as she can. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

===========================================================There is no better 
way to see the world than from the back of a horse.
~  Teddy Roosevelt

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