Q: My mare lies down when we go through water. What should I do to stop her from doing this?
Once she has gone through the water crossing a few times, allow her to walk into the middle and let her stand for a moment. Horses usually give their riders some pretty obvious signs that they want to lie down; for example, pawing and lowering their head. If your horse starts giving you these signals, get her attention back on you by pulling firmly upward on one rein to bring her head up again, and then give her a strong bump or two with your legs. You must be quick though. If she keeps pawing, put her to work. Circle her in the water if there’s enough room and it’s safe. Walk back and forth through the water several times and then continue on your ride.
The secret to stopping a horse from lying down is to keep her working and paying attention to you, even when she’s standing in water. Ride your mare confidently every time you approach a stream or water crossing, and be ready to pull upward with one rein. Don’t let down your guard, because your horse may try to lie down again.
This article originally appeared in the September/October 2014 issue of Young Rider magazine. Click here to subscribe!