Getting a horse to stand for a bath? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 05-15-2011, 12:48 PM Thread Starter
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Getting a horse to stand for a bath?

My pony is not a fan of being sprayed with water.

Well, actually he doesn't seem to mind it that much; he's not scared of the hose or anything. However, he is a pain in the butt to hose off after I ride in the summer or, especially, give a bath. He just doesn't like to stand still. I hose him on cross ties (we have an outside wash stall) and he tries to walk forward and back constantly, or sideways just not standing still. He is cross tied trained. He is very slightly better if I just have him on a lead rope and let graze because he gets a little distracted but still annoying and frustrating.

If I put a lead rope on him while he's on the cross ties so that I can stop him when he walks, he'll do better for a while, but get more and more annoyed.

How do I get him to stand and deal with being hosed off? I need help!

Thanks guys!
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post #2 of 9 Old 05-21-2011, 07:43 PM
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Can you spray him while holding him with the lead rope? Sometimes that helps to teach him that you aren't going anywhere...
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post #3 of 9 Old 05-21-2011, 07:46 PM
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maybe have someone help you hold him a couple a times... hose off his legs every time you ride him to get him more used to it, and hopefully he'll settle down.
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post #4 of 9 Old 05-22-2011, 01:31 PM
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Is the water cold? I find that when I hose a horse, no matter the weather, they stand a lot more quietly if the water is warmish rather than freezing cold.

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The fool thinks he knows everything."

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post #5 of 9 Old 05-22-2011, 11:23 PM
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Personally, I dislike cross-ties. I think a horse should be able to stand there no matter if they are tied up or not. I have a 6 year old POA gelding with the intellegence of a Border Collie and the attention span of a Goldfish and he manages to stand in one place. I am a dog trainer at heart, so I must admit that I have trained him the basic commands. (Come, stay, things like that.) Starting out I would have the lead rope draped over my arm for quick access. If he tried to put his head down, I'd pick it back up. If he tried to move, I'd put him back in the same spot. It didn't take long before he just gave up on trying. (Of course a horse like him it is never really over, he's resorted to eating dirt, which I have to constantly correct him for when at my trainer's barn.)

Just keep making him stand back in the same place, don't let him start eating or drift off. Keep the lead in hand for quick corrections, but do not ever take your focus off your work. Act like it is no trouble to you if he moves, though you would rather he not. It just means alot more effort on his part, and your work stays the same. You can do this while grooming normally, then while perhaps tacking up, then while bathing. It is easier to always do this, rather than only practice it when bathing. Cross-ties are sort of cheating to me. If I told my horse to stay in the barn, he'd stay there and let me go out to the trailer to get other stuff. The worst he usually does is bother a person or follow me. He doesn't wander and get in another horse's buisness. (Only people can really break his stay with their mixed signals.) It will take a while, but sooner or later you will have a horse that just stands where you want him. I've seen an old horse stand in the middle of an arena for 1 hour without bothering anyone. My trainer was riding him, then just left him there and he didn't budge untill both lessons she taught were over. xD
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post #6 of 9 Old 05-23-2011, 01:50 AM
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My mare did not like being sprayed off either, but what was funny was that if I ran my hand over her coat with the water, then she wasn't as concerned.

So here's what I did:
I did not tie her up. I had the lead rope in on hand and sprayed her off in another. If she moved, then I'd let her, but keep the hose spraying on her in the same place. Then, once she'd stand still for 15 seconds or cock her leg or chew or drop her head, I'd take the water away.

This also worked with desensitizing her head and neck to the water.

The point is to teach the horse that when he relaxes and stands still, the water will go away. It shows them that the water is nothing to worry about.

Anyway, this is what worked for me.
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post #7 of 9 Old 05-24-2011, 09:26 AM
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I have the same problem with my pony but the way I have got around it in the past is:
Make sure your in a clear area and then hold the leadrope and the hose and just let your horse walk if it wants to but keep hosing it because if you stop when he misbehaves then he learns that misbehaving means he doesn't get hosed. When he behaves himself keep hosing for a second and then calmly take the hose away.
I would never hose a loose horse as you have less control and your horse has more freedom and could end up trying to kick the hose and kick you instead!
Try to get him used to being hosed, I hose my ponies feet each time he comes in from the field and he was never hosed before I got him!
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post #8 of 9 Old 05-24-2011, 09:38 AM
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I always start young horses hosing off with just a lead rope. It has worked well for me, they feel free to move and get used to the water pretty fast.

My gelding hates baths, you can just tell. He's not a nightmare and is completely manageable but he just cringes, lifts each leg as you spray it in protest and looks generally miserable. My filly on the other hand stands there and just loves the attention and getting "pretty". Unfortunately I think there are some horses no matter how much you work with them they just don't like it. I get Aidan bathed and am never in danger so I take what I can get ;) He's not fond of brushing or braiding either lol. Unless my kids are doing it, then he seems very content with the situation.

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post #9 of 9 Old 05-24-2011, 10:09 AM
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Horses are naturally lazy creatures. They would rather stand still then to have to "work". Make him stand in one place and hose his legs if he moves make him move a lot, like if he takes a step forward do 15 back and then go back to exactly where you were standing before. If he side steps then make him keep going. Take him out of the wash rack, a wash rack is made for horses that stand. For every move he makes other than to readjust himself make him work. It will not take long before he realizes that if I stand still this will be over quickly and I will not have to work. Also try to anticipate the movement he is going to make so you can try to correct it BEFORE he does it.
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