frightened by water on right side by ear - The Horse Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 Old 04-16-2009, 04:23 PM Thread Starter
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frightened by water on right side by ear

hey! I have a 7 year old westphalian gelding who is afraid of water on the right side by his ear. When I went to bathe him on that side he was fine until the water reached his neck and he started freaking out each time it got closer. We think he has really sensitive hearing, but it is only on one side. He might have gotten cut in that ear, or water went in for a long time. Any other ideas on what could have happened and how to fix it?
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post #2 of 6 Old 04-16-2009, 08:32 PM
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I would sponge bathe him on that side if it is frightening him. Each time try to go a little further up with the hose, but then stop if he gets worried and use the sponge. He should eventually let you hose the whole side. Some horses are just funny about water on one side compared to the other. Another thought is that maybe it has to do with the sound of the water on that side. If he doesn't mind you sticking your fingers in his ear, you could try an earplug and see if that helps at all. Good luck!
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post #3 of 6 Old 04-16-2009, 08:32 PM
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I'd get his eyesight checked if I were you.
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post #4 of 6 Old 04-17-2009, 08:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ahsisi View Post
I would sponge bathe him on that side if it is frightening him. Each time try to go a little further up with the hose, but then stop if he gets worried and use the sponge. He should eventually let you hose the whole side. Some horses are just funny about water on one side compared to the other. Another thought is that maybe it has to do with the sound of the water on that side. If he doesn't mind you sticking your fingers in his ear, you could try an earplug and see if that helps at all. Good luck!
I agree with Ahsisi. Like all training, and this is training especially if the horse has any worries about what is happening, do the approach and retreat method. Yes you probably won't be able to use the hose to get him wet by the ear, but eventually you will as you continue to work with him with the approach and retreat method. Use the sponge to finish the job, and the hose to "train" with in that area.

Also, one of my horses is extremely one sided, and working him on his right side 90% of the time has greatly helped him. He was also very worried about the hose (big horse eating snake spitting poisonous liquid at him), and the approach and retreat helped greatly. When I retreated, I simply went back to an area, like his shoulder , to reward him and take the pressure off that he felt when hosing upper neck.

Hope I made sense. Good luck.
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post #5 of 6 Old 04-17-2009, 09:29 AM
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Just stay consistent. You can try the sponge idea, otherwise as you are hosing his right side and have intent to hose his neck, the moment he reacts in fear, remove the hose and hose off somewhere he doesn't mind. Then repeat. The more times you add the pressure of the hose and then take it away when he gets frightened the more times he will realize it isn't going to attack him. That when he gets afraid, the pressure will go away so in time he will learn the water on his neck isn't a scary thing.
Pay special attention to the area where he starts to react. It probably happens way before you reach his neck, which is why when you get to his neck his reaction is loud. So watch him as your hosing him, watch for the 1st spot where he tells you what you are doing is not okay with him. Could be on his shouulder, could be farther back. But watch for that place, he'll get it. Just don't push it on him and he will learn to tolerate it. :)

In riding, a horse's energy is like a river- guided by the banks but not stopped by them.
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post #6 of 6 Old 04-17-2009, 04:23 PM Thread Starter
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thanks. I think I am going to try the sponge idea. All of the advice is great.
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