|*Grumbles* Fine...I'll go through it....|
Quest is inquisitive and curious by nature which made approaching the puddle no problem but when I tried to lead her though, she daintily side stepped her way around it. Alrighty then. Lunge whip in one hand and lead rope in the other, I clucked and sent her forward into the water. She investigated it with no problem but then cut in closer to me to avoid the puddle and zoomed around at a trot. I growled and reminded her to stay out of my space. With each zoom around, her feet landed closer and closer to the puddle as I continued to push her out until finally, one foot landed in the edge of the water. "Good girl!" I praised. I kept sending her forward and around. Two feet splashed into the water. "Very good!"
Then all four feet, straight through the puddle, no cut corners. Good mare! I asked for a whoa to give her a break and rub on the forehead. Then back to work. Then change in direction and repeat on the other side. No problems there. I sent her though the puddle a couple times in both directions just to make sure. NBD. I think the whole thing took less than 10 minutes.
|Calm forward walk through the horse-eating puddle|
She was curious yet cautious but pretty soon she realized the river wasn't actually going to eat her. When she got more comfortable and confident, I encouraged her to step closer and sent her into the water. I had changed into my rain boots at this point (very glad I brought them along) and was able to wade in at her side. And then the play began.
|She sniffed, then suddenly plunged/submerged almost her entire face underwater lol|
|Then pawing. I let her do it only for a little bit. Didn't want any rolling!|
|Smokey and A. And a better view of the river in the background.|
The next day we did a nice trail ride in which I got to put Quest's newly discovered puddle crossing skills to the test undersaddle. While she was still not totally thrilled about it, only a couple seconds of convincing was needed to walk through everything I pointed her at. It was a definite improvement from pre-puddle groundwork.
A and I did about 1/3 of the south rail trail and added on the lake loop instead. It was our first time out there since last fall and Quest's first time leading the way. The lake trail is very pretty with great views but there is one section towards the end that can be a little nerve-wracking since it requires taking a narrow trail along a very busy road that exits from local state highway.
Quest jigged a couple steps forward when a dump truck thumped past with a full load but I was quickly able to get her back down to a walk. While she still had her worry moments, it was 100% noted night and day difference in her mental maturity. She used to jig horribly, to the point where I can pick out the exact spots where she used to start and did not stop, until we were more than halfway home. Now it only lasts a couple of steps and she comes right back down to a walk, while leading the trail ride to boot.
All in all, a successful ride around the lake, leading the ride, and crossing puddles. I'm so very happy with the mareface's progress so far. We have made big strides in getting over her mehness about water and just seeing how she has mentally matured is very encouraging. Let's hope the positive momentum continues!