Recently we were riding when Doc got stuck in the mud and we were really pleased to see how he handled getting out. Doc had been ridden into the water to get a drink and sank down on his front feet. Sensing a good opportunity to practice, he was asked to back up. We like a horse to be ready to slowly back out of an uncomfortable situation without getting real excited. Unexpectedly, his back feet slipped and left him up to his back hocks in the mud. The left rear leg sunk a little deeper causing him to twist. Front feet stuck and hind legs slipping under him is the kind of event that can turn real ugly really fast if your horse gets overly excited.
As soon as he slipped, he was asked to ” Whoa. ” He stood still and waited for the next que. Contrary to what probably felt safe to him, he was asked to go forward a little. To Doc, it likely seemed just the opposite of what needed to happen, but he calmly stepped forward breaking his front feet loose. He was then allowed to turn around to climb back to dry ground.
We were really pleased. He kept his head about him, maintained his training, and dealt with it like a trail horse should. Like we constantly repeat, you can’t plan for every contingency. Things happen sometimes and they happen fast. An experienced trail horse will work through it safely if allowed to do so.