Three steps to prepare for a relaxed summer swim
Step #1: Simulate the water
Before we’re heading to actual water, we want to simulate the different elements involved first. I use a tarp as it’s not only visually but also audibly a challenge for horses, just like water.
I then send my horses out on the circle from a leading position. You don’t want to feel like you’re chasing your horse towards the tarp.
Step #2: Reward by going away
What you want to achieve in the early stages is your horse showing interest in the water.
This means that as soon as your horse starts to lean towards the tarp in an interested position, you actually take your horse away.
The more times you can do this, the more your horse believes in his body and believes he can take himself over.
The aim is that your horse consciously chooses to step on the tarp and that he’s not pushed.
Step #3: Repeat this process
As soon as your horse has found the “yes-posture”, the posture for success, you can ask him to move over the tarp.
When your horse is confident on the ground, you can move up to work in the saddle, leaving the rein long so your horse can find the right posture.
When you’ve perfected that, the only thing left to do is to go to the water!
Approach the water just like you did the tarp and your horse will confidently take your through!