Horse afraid of grooming

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Horse afraid of grooming

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    10-02-2012, 02:51 AM
Post Horse afraid of grooming

Hello all,

Hope you can help me. I am fostering a horse that was badly neglected, emaciated and undernourished. Therefore her coat, feet, mane and tail are in terrible condition. Well, she stood just fine for the farrier. Her feet are on the mend. The problem arises when I go to groom her. She is afraid of the brush, curry comb, and don't even bring out the clippers. She will not let any grooming tool near her. Any ideas on how I can handle this. I need to get her groomed. At one time I am sure she was a pretty mare. Thanks! Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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    10-02-2012, 03:30 AM
Let her sniff it check it out then take it away, touch her with it, then take it away tell her she is a good girl. And keep repeating, brush 1 stroke then stop.
Pressure and release is key.
    10-02-2012, 03:38 AM
horse afraid of grooming.

Have tried that. Several times over that last couple of weeks in fact. I did finally manage to get some of the matted hair off by putting a lambs wool mitten on that you use to wash the car with and rubbed her down with that. She didnt seem to mind that. I will just keep trying. I don't want to hobble her or anything. I am afraid that will really set her off. I am trying the gentle approach. Hopefully time and patience will persevere! Thank you for your advice.
HorseCrazyTeen likes this.
    10-02-2012, 04:10 AM
I had a colt for 1 year and we spent many hours with him trying and trying and we could not get him over his fear of people touching him. He was never treated badly either as far as know. I also spent over $1000.00 for training.
He Eventually went back to where he came from and he is still the same. The only thing I gained was to be able to put his halter on and off. I could brush him, but you had to start over everyday . Everyday he acted like he didn't know you. It got to the point where I had to wear the same clothes, just so he would come to me.
My vet said he has come across a few like that and they ended up being put down, because they could be trained.

One thing the trainer did was cross tie him and just went at him with the brush and acted like he didn't have a choice, because he was going to do it anyway.
It seemed to work too, but Im more of the slow gradual kind of person.

I wish you the best of luck.
    10-02-2012, 04:17 AM
You mentioned something about mats...Has she been dewormed? An overload of worms will give a ruff, dull coat, skinny and bot bellied. Pinworms will wreck havock on her tail, because she will be rubbing her butt on whatever she could find. If she hasn't been then you need to call a vet and ask how to aproach it because if they die in large numbers, she could colic and die.
Good luck
    10-02-2012, 08:59 AM
Green Broke
I'm sure there is fear, for some reason, associated with being touched with grooming tools.

I have a horse that never used to like being brushed. He has food and environmental allergies that made his skin uncomfortable. Since I got those under control, he enjoys grooming and even likes the shop vac.

Try a dog grooming mitt (in a quiet color, don't buy pink) and lightly massage her with it might work to start her getting over her fear. WalMart carries them; Tractor Supply might but I'm not sure.

It's also possible the brushes really hurt her skin. If you make progress with the dog grooming mitt, you may have to start out with bristled brushes that are so soft, they won't do much to clean her but she will tolerate.

Hope this helps
natisha likes this.
    10-02-2012, 12:18 PM
I suspect that because she is so thin she is very sensitive to grooming. Good idea the wash mitt. She may be fine with a soft brush, like a shoe brush. You can be gentle with her but don't *****foot around her or she will think there is something she needs to be afraid of. If this horse hasn't been checked by a vet it should be done soon then follow his recommendations regarding teeth and deworming. Ask his advise on which dewormer.
texasgal likes this.
    10-02-2012, 12:44 PM
Super Moderator
I can't say that my oldest mare has ever enjoyed being groomed - she is very 'ticklish' and so just tolerates it.
Things like worms and ulcers can make a horse feel so sore inside that it doesn't want to be touched and lice can do the same to the outside
Some horses are also very prone to getting static shocks
I like the grooming mit idea, you can buy lots of small kiddie sized brushes and human hair brushes that are small and soft that might help
Horses like to be scratched so you can do that gently with your fingers too to help remove any matts that must be contributing to the soreness
I think this is a task for lots of patience and time - if you did feel a need for clippers or 'really going at it' for the sake of the horses long term comfort you could ask your vet to lightly sedate - oral ACE would work.
I would use treats as a reward in a case like this - but only until the problem is resolved.
    10-03-2012, 12:01 AM
horse afraid of grooming.

Hey thanks for all the suggestions! Truly helpful. She has been vet checked and dewormed. She also doesnt have mange or rain rot. That was one of first things I had vet check. A little dry skin but nothing drastic in that area. I will try some of these ideas and keep you all posted on progress. Thanks again!
    10-10-2012, 01:43 AM
horse afraid of grooming.

I found something that worked to get her groomed. Believe it or not I was one of those little brushes that you use to scrub vegetables with before you cook them. The bristles were soft enough that it didnt hurt and the brush was small enough to hide it in my hand. After I got her brushed I was able to bathe her. She is starting to look like a pretty girl again! Soon as I can I will post pictures so you all can see her. Thanks for the help!
jaydee and HorseCrazyTeen like this.

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