Puddles – Bottomless Pits?

Puddles – I finally understand why horses see them as bottomless pits!

Hopping puddles when riding a horse is annoying! I have a horse that was my regular riding horse that refused to put a single hoof in a puddle. I learned why on this particular road trip in July of 2020.

The road trip…

So let’s set the scene, an ATV trail being called a road on Google Maps.  Fully loaded 2012 Subaru Outback with one of those hitch racks to carry a cooler.  Two capable women and one large dog loaded for a two week vacation on a lake disconnected from the world. 

My riding companion, Sandy and I were traveling to my family’s cottage in Lower Michigan. At the time I was in my previous career and was visiting the remote locations in the Upper Peninsula that I serviced.  Performing the yearly checks to make sure things are running smoothly.


Following the GPS, as some of you know the upper peninsula of Michigan has sketchy service at best in many areas. Then missing the turn and of course my GPS rerouted me. 

I should have known that when the dirt trail turned into something akin to an ATV trail I should have just started backing up.  As a ‘forward’ kind of person I kept going. 

Being a forward kind of person…

As this driveway turns into a forest trail, then into sand dunes, next were the pot holes. WOW, more like pits of doom getting ready to swallow us up when we were already where AAA would never get to us. 

The point at which it was decided that we were going to turn around we had just come through a puddle that was as black and opaque as ink and it was sketchy.  The next puddle was as long as the car and looked about as deep as the car was tall, again inky black water stood stagnant in it.  That puddle looked for sure like it was bottomless.

Now I get it!

Both Sandy and I assessed it, this was the moment that we both realized why horses hate puddles.  There was no way anyone was going to get me to drive in there. I would back all the way back out to the highway if I had to.  ALL. THE. WAY. 

I understood at that moment, why a horse can and will refuse to step in a puddle but will go swimming in a lake or pond.  That looked like a bottomless pit and who knows what was at the bottom if there was one! Some is the horse’s trust in you not to put them in a situation that will hurt you both, but also them making a decision to do the same for you both at the same time.  Either way it is a decision I respect now.

Leaving the Puddles behind!

I only had to back up a few yards before I could turn around completely.  Getting out of there was as hair raising as getting in there going over each obstacle wondering how we got that far to begin with.  I learned a couple valuable lessons, don’t trust the GPS in the UP of Michigan and puddles really are a scary thing.

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