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Spinoff: Dropping off bank into water

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  • Spinoff: Dropping off bank into water

    My mare is great about dropping quietly down a bank after learning not to leap off but absolutely will not jump off into water. She did it once with a huge four legged straight into the water launch that I fell off. It took a while and several training sessions to even get her to that point at all. Since then, I haven't had the opportunity or the place to work on it. She will trot and canter through water all day long and jump up banks out of water but going off the bank into the water, and we're talking a bank of about 18" at the most, is not an option.

    Any suggestions to get this reluctant pony to jump in and keeping it positive? Maybe lunging her off the bank? Thanks for all your help.
    Yogurt - If you're so cultured, how come I never see you at the opera? Steven Colbert

  • #2
    I do a positive school at other jumps first...including up and down dry banks.

    Then go in the water...walk around, trot throught etc. Then pop out the little bank....a couple of times at the same spot. Be very specific where you are jumping out...don't just randomly aim at the bank. Then I turn around and jog in at the SAME spot off the bank that I had jumped out.

    With really tough cases, I might play follow the leader with a good calm horse....follow over jumps they are comfortable with first...then from the water out of the bank a couple of times and then follow them off the bank. Again really making sure you are letting go of her face....and soft in your hips.

    Nothing is worse that PRONG land on all fours in the water....isn't comfortable for them or you! But if she does that...you have to do your best to stay on (of course) and then throw her a BIG time party! (lots of pats and praise)...and then do it again and again and again....
    ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **


    • #3
      Exactly what BFNE said.


      • #4
        Sometimes it can also help to set up little gymnastics on the edge of the water, first little cross rails and then bigger. The horse gets used to the idea of landing in the water and the splash, before you add in the drop. It can also be helpful to find a really tiny drop, i.e. a little log on the edge, something so small they can walk in if necessary. My mare was a bit nervous initially about drops into water, and for her the lead horse thing never worked, it just made her distracted and then more shocked when the water drop appeared. We gradually worked up from tiny drops and gymnastics on the edge to bigger drops, and now she is willingly jumping the Prelim drops.


        • Original Poster

          I've tried using a lead horse and she just slams on the brakes at the top and refuse to budge. She will happily go in the water and up out of small banks out of the water and up and down dry banks all day but not into the water from a drop. I like the idea of having a small jump at the edge like vali said, that sounds do-able.
          Yogurt - If you're so cultured, how come I never see you at the opera? Steven Colbert


          • #6
            I am also liking the idea of the small jump on the edge of the water... I think this might help my mare also - getting used to the splash and landing in the unknown, but without the "drop". I likey...
            ...for there are wings on these hooves, the speed and power of foam-capped waves...
            Proud member of the artists clique


            • #7
              Have you considered trying to longe her down the bank into the water? Obviously, only if the area/jump/complex is safe and conducive to it.

              That might give your horse a chance to figure it out on her own first (own speed, balance, etc), without either of you worrying about unplanned dismounts.


              • #8
                I have a horse that was never good at water, and I just accepted this part of him. He would do the same thing, he would get to the edge, shuffle a bit, bellyflop off onto all fours, and it was all I could do to stay on. He also needed at least 1-2 smacks behind my leg, if he was being good. That was just him. He must have jumped scores of water jumps, and never really changed. He was otherwise an overly bold and honest horse, but that was his kryptonite.

                Learn to rapid fire with the crop, and sit back like your life depends on it. And hope she gets better with time.