When I purchased Marley I was forewarned of his great aversion to water.
He hated getting his toes wet.
He hated baths.
He hated any water touching his body.
I was even told of an incident during a cup-of-water relay game, when Marley threw a tantrum when a small amount of water spilled out of his handicapped rider's cup onto his shoulder.
Marley has challenged his trainers in ground training sessions involving water. I watched as he refused to walk across a water puddle and opted to run up a hillside, pulling his trainer with him. This was a forested hillside, so the trainer took quick advantage and wrapped the lead rope around a tree and brought Marley to a surprising halt. Marley can put up a pretty strong argument when presented with a task he doesn't like. But we've been working on his water issue every chance we get.
When I came home from work yesterday, I was pleased to see that the melting snow from last Saturday's blizzard had created puddles of opportunity for Marley.
Marley's opportunity to walk through a puddle:
When working through puddles on the ground, I like to do more than simply lead Marley through the puddle. We started out that way, but now we work in a circle on a long lead rope and I "send" him through the puddle, without being close to his side in a typical leading position. When I'm riding Marley on the trail and we encounter a puddle, I won't be by his side to lead him through it. I'll be on his back and he may feel he is facing that horse-eating puddle all alone, unless I've reinforced his confidence on the ground by sending him through these preparatory puddles.
Marley's opportunity to stand calmly in a puddle: