hates water on his face!

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hates water on his face!

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    07-03-2009, 10:39 PM
hates water on his face!

Whenever I hose my horse off I usually grab a wet sponge and wet his face, but he HATES it! He swings his head and puts up a fuss. He does the same thing if I try to touch his ears. I checked his ears the best I could for bugs or cuts and there is nothing so that can't be causing it. Is there any way I can get him to stop doing this? All suggestions are greatly appreciated! Thanks! :)
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    07-04-2009, 01:58 AM
Sounds like he's a little headshy... wonder if he's been ear twitched or similar in the past???

Whats he like when you brush his face - is he okay? Take it slowly - start off with brushing the face as much as you can but slowly and calmly - if he's okay with that I would then progress to rubbing him over a wrung out sponge so it barely gets him wet.... then just move slowly over time to a wetter one... it wont happen over night - but he will get used to it... the ear thing will take more time.... - alot of horses don't like their ears touched.... but time and the horse learning to trust you around his face/ears is what its going to take
    07-04-2009, 08:23 AM
I would use an "approach and retreat" type tactic. Establish a baseline, something that he will allow you to do, but isn't extremely comfortable with. Start doing it, and keep it up until he stops fussing, then stop and pet him, rewarding his acceptance. (Acceptance = Lowering head, loose ears, soft eyes, licking/chewing lips, exhaling) Then try again. When he really accepts, say, a soft brush on his head without reacting, maybe progress to a dry sponge, and rub that all over his head. If he gets upset at all (even a slight raise in his head is a negative reaction), do the same approach and retreat. At this point, he understands the A&R, so that familiarity along with the nature of the exercise itself will help him to understand that the sponge won't grab him by the jugular.

A wet sponge may always give you a little trouble, since it creates a very odd sensation in a very sensitive, not to mention blind, area. When he's ready, start with the sponge barely damp. There's no need to drown him all at once , and treat him just like it was a dry sponge, A&R if he isn't comfortable.

It takes a while, but it will truly fix the problem if done correctly. You can do this for anything that needs to be around his head, clippers, fly ointment, sunscreen. My sis QH sometimes decides that he doesn't like dewormer syringes, and this exercise gets the job done.
    07-04-2009, 08:40 AM
He doesnt mind it when I touch his face, as a matter of fact he loves when I scratch his cheek behind the ears and under the forelock. But as soon as I actually touch the front of his ear were in for it! Lol! He lets me brush it for a little while with a soft brush but after a min he starts raising his head. Oh and scoutrider you mean that even when he raises his head keep doing it til he accepts it and then reward right? I know that's pretty much what you said but I got a little confused lol.
    07-04-2009, 08:45 AM
Good advice already posted, and...

It may sound stupid, but I always keep a very simple thought in my mind told to me years ago by our breeder/trainer friends down the road that have been in the horse business 40+ years...in this case...

How would you feel/what would you do if someone just walked up to you with a spray bottle/sponge/etc and started spraying/wiping your face?
    07-04-2009, 08:52 AM
Yep, dreamrider. Just keep up like he never raised his head until he lowers it and relaxes. It sounds like he's learned that raising his head gets him away from stuff he doesn't like, so that's become his habit. He needs to learn that the way to get away from stuff he doesn't like is to relax.

Originally Posted by PaintHorseMares    
How would you feel/what would you do if someone just walked up to you with a spray bottle/sponge/etc and started spraying/wiping your face?
Excellent point. You should have T-shirts made, I'd distribute them to all the people who don't give their horses any warning about what's coming, lol.
    07-04-2009, 10:58 AM
Painthorsemares- GOOD POINT! Lol! I kinda think about that too. By the way great advice everyone! :)
    07-04-2009, 11:30 AM
You can also use baby wipes on his face, that's what I use.
    07-04-2009, 11:37 AM
Yeah that's not a bad idea ^^

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