It was a gorgeous day here in Oklahoma, sunny and 70. After work, Kyla and I headed out to the barn to get some work in on Cal and Colt. We decided to take them out in the front field, which is home to Doc, Annie, and Heidi. It’s also totally fenced, only about 6 acres, and has a pond.
We caught our guys and shut Doc, Annie, and Heidi in their stalls. Colt’s stable manners weren’t the best; I think he was getting a bit anxious for dinner. We set off into the field, which was kind of damp from the weekend’s rain. The footing was okay, but there was a bit of standing water winding its way through the field’s natural drainage areas. I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to introduce Colt to wet, muddy footing. I am a firm believer in getting horses out of the arena and into the open as often as possible. I feel like it works them mentally and physically, and for Colt to become a good cross-country horse, he needs to be able to deal with less than perfect footing.
Cal handled the footing like the little champion he is, plodding through the mucky footing with utter calmness. Colt seemed suspicious, but gamely trudged through. When we came to some standing water, I rode him forward at a brisk, positive walk. He stopped. Kyla and Cal splashed right through. Upon seeing his friend on the other side of the scary water, Colt found some courage. He rocked back on his haunches and leaped into the air! I managed to stay on through force of will and bridged reins.
Colt decided jumping the water was the best way to cope with this new situation, and he proceeded to leap over every part of the drainage route we encountered on our walk. Cal happily walked through it all, setting a perfect example.
I don’t feel too bad about Colt’s performance. This was the first time he’d been exposed to water and he handled it fairly well. He didn’t get excited or nervous- he just jumped. When the weather is consistently nice (in the summer, probably), I’ll take him through the pond in some old tack. He can splash and get wet and get used to walking, trotting, and cantering through some water. I feel like we’re off to a good start, though!