One can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. Much ado has been made about research pertaining to leading a horse to water and the inevitable negative response to imbibing water. In their wisdom, the department wishes to advise horse trainers of the procedure to ensure
that a led horse will consume liquid nourishment.
1. Upon being led to the watering hole/trough, the trainer is required to kneel on all fours and model drinking from the water source. Be sure to make all of the necessary slurping sounds and feign enjoyment.
2. Make the modelling session engaging by attracting the attention, interest and desire of the horse by wearing a giraffe or a Barney the Dinosaur costume.
3. Guide the experience by splashing water on your own face as well as the equine student. Feigning enjoyment is mandatory.
4. Modify the environment to ensure all aspects of access and differentiation occurs:
a. Reduce the size of the water trough so it appears less daunting to the horse;
b. Make the task challenging by placing the trough on top of a shed or at the end of an active obstacle course;
c. Apply a small pump or siphon hose that sprays a fountain of water into the air.
d. Adjust the level of water in the container, in relation to degrees of ease or difficulty;
e. Modify the shape of the trough or container to increase accessibility and interest, e.g. a sea shell or ornate bowl.
5. If the above methods fail to produce desired results, form a committee that identifies the shortcoming of the trainer, asking, “What is it that you need to do better?”
6. Engage in hours of debate and Professional Development to develop instructor skills to attain the desired goal of horse drinking water.
7. At regular intervals the committee shall meet and endorse actions which need to be implemented by the trainer with little or no assistance, resources and time.
8. At this point the committee needs to remind the trainer that food tampering (a chemical solution), needs to be administered with the consent of the owner and under close specialist supervision. One suggestion is to add salt to the oat bag.
9. The trainer will also need to be warned of the consequences of physically forcing water into the horse’s mouth.
10.Any successful outcome at this point will be henceforth claimed by all members of the support committee, with the exception of the trainer, who will praise and genuflect towards the committee.
11.Any unsuccessful result will indicate professional and personal shortcomings of the trainer – trainer replacement is inevitable.
12.After exhausting all modifications and forms of differentiation, the horse will drink the water as it is wholly responsible for its own thoughts, sounds and actions. It is responsible for the consequences it chooses. No-one else can drink the water for it, let alone force it to drink.