Scared of water

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Scared of water

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    06-09-2009, 03:39 PM
Scared of water

My new horse is scared of water so how do I give him a bath? He is only 4 so I'm getting him acquainted with basic simple things. Normally when something is introduced he is fine with it the second time. Pretty fast learner really, and he seems to trust me some right now, I can tell he really wants to. He's doing a great job for only knowing me a week! Any suggestions on how I introduce the bath?
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    06-09-2009, 03:47 PM
I would make it fun for him. Turn on the horse so a gentle stream is coming out. Then kinda hold it in front of him so he can snif the water and see for himself that it isn't so bad. Make sure you're talking to him the whole time and lots of praise when he snifs it. Then I would just slowly introduce hosing him off. Start with just his hooves, then once he's comfortable with that, work your way up his legs. It may take a few tries, but going slow is the best way. Good luck!!!
    06-09-2009, 04:39 PM
Originally Posted by RiddlesDarkAngel5    
... start with just his hooves, then once he's comfortable with that, work your way up his legs. It may take a few tries, but going slow is the best way. Good luck!!!
Yes, this way works. They are usually most afraid the closer you get to their face, so starting from the hooves up is the way to go. Using a stream from a hose instead of a sprayer is also a good way to start...a sprayer makes a lot more noise and produces a harsher spray. If it's hot, a lot of times by the time you get to the top of the legs, they have decided that the cool feels good and you can more easily go on to the body.
    06-09-2009, 05:12 PM
That sounds like a good plan and he is so good I can't imagine it wouldn't work. Also what do you think of me using a wet sponge to rub all over him before using a hose?
    06-09-2009, 11:12 PM
Well he wont connect the two. . The bath and the sponging. So it wont hurt to sponge him off but if your only letting him see the sponge he wont make the connection to water. . And then the hose and bath.
Make sure that you have him on a lead rope and not on the cross ties in case he gets upset. Starting at his feet is the best way to introduce the water and bath. Make sure if he starts to wiggle or wants to move away that you just continue as long as he doesn't get too upset and over react. If every time he moves you stop with the water and the bath he will take much longer to accept it. Once he realizes that your going to continue and not go away he will relax and accept it. Talking to him should help him understand that its not going to hurt him. It would be ideal if you had a helper to hold him.
You can also take just the hose without it turned on and touch him with it so he can see that its not going to hurt him. Some horses are more afraid of the hose and its movements than the actual water coming out of it. It sounds like you are very patient that will help a lot : )
    06-09-2009, 11:39 PM
Good strategies already given. Couple more suggestions-bath him where it isn't slippery so if he is a little spooky he won't add that to his association with water. I hook my hose up to my laundry room sink and use warm water too. Give him a hay bag so it's a pleasant, relaxing experience. Also, either have someone hold him or make sure you undo your knot so if he panics, he's not stuck.

Goodluck :)
    06-10-2009, 01:43 AM
I find that most horses that are afraid of water have been unknowingly taught that way by a person - after alll water is natural.
If after it has rained, if you have a lot of puddles make sure that you lead your horse through them. Most people don't like to get their own feet wet so walk around them and in doing so teach their horse that water is something to be avoided.
    06-10-2009, 12:18 PM
Just start off slow, like the others said.My horse hated water when I got him now he will drink out of the hose, lol he loves it
    06-12-2009, 12:36 AM
Good ideas! I will give them a try. Thanks :)
    06-13-2009, 05:25 PM
Hi Huntergirl,
I am new here but have had lots of experience with working on horses and even young foals when it comes to the water issue!
Being that your horse and yourself are new to eachother..all things suggested are great.
One thing to remember is that horses have two sides of their brain and one side is usually harder to work with then the other one. You will get to know your horse and his/her body language better as the weeks past.

The water is a natural thing to horse as stated above but a hose is a different thing...

If your having issues with the horse starting to balk at the sigt and sound of a hose you may have to begin with just the hose and no water. Getting the horse used to having a hose pulled around his feet and touching himher with the hose...

I start young horses this way. One thing I have done with young horses is to first get them used to haveing a rope that is touching them all over. Especially
With the leg area. I will start by moving the rope around the horse and let the horse sniff the equipment etc. The goal is to get you horse used to equipment that you will use with them all the time.

Onece the animal is comfy with the sound of a hose and its movement then start as suggested above with the water at a low we all know sometimes the sounds of a hose with the water on can create airpockets and burps etc...all things that may be spooky.

The hosing then can gradually be increased and increased...but only increase when your horse has become comfortable with the level your at with the water.
Another thing I always try to do with any horse of any age is to end things on a good note! Meaning that when a small thing has been accomplished I then stop.
Whatever you do on the left side should be consistently repeated on the right side so that the horse will learn it on both sides.... Interestngly I have worked with many horses who will be fine with certain things on one side and then just gt freaked when the very same thing is introduced to the opposite side...
So think of your horse as having two left and one right.

I am going through similar things with my horse. He has been out to pasture due to my going through some health and injury problems. SO he is a bit sour as to being handled. He is 8 yrs old and now has moved from my parents ranc in another state to my home. He went from mellow to a horse with some bad manors even though this was not an issue at my folk's home it is an issue now in his new home.
So It is back to basic stuff. Like as if he were 2-3 all over again.

I think that horses like to see us as their leader and establishing this on the ground before trying to establish it in the saddle is great. I can not say enough about simple groud work that allows your horse to become comfortable with you, your equipment and all the activities that you will do on the ground.
I hope my rambling has helped in some way. Please feel free to PM me if you would like! In time the two of you will beome more accustomed to one another and the water will not be such an issue...
Good luck!

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