Horse skeptical about fly spray - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 03-12-2012, 08:57 PM Thread Starter
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Horse skeptical about fly spray

I wasn't sure whether to post this under grooming or training...

I have just introduced my yearling Sham to fly spray, I didn't end up spraying it on him because while I was showing him what it did he became a little worried about it. I don't want to scare the little crap out of him when I end up spraying it on him, any tips to help introduce him to it properly?


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post #2 of 12 Old 03-12-2012, 09:10 PM
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Several of the horses I've owned(rescues) have been utterly terrified of spray bottles.

The best way I've found to desensitise them is to spray a rag or brush near them and wipe it on them(end of sentence not end of process). Start by standing back a ways while your spray on the brush/rag then slowly move in closer until you can "accidentally" over shoot your brush and spray the horse. If the horse gets even a little worried you can act like "oops I meant to spray this brush" and go back to spraying the brush.

It's basic approach and retreat, accidental spray is approach, go back to spraying brush as a retreat. I find my horses accept this better than spraying into the air around them because they don't seem to associate it with something you're trying to do to them, they think your busy with the brush and they don't need to worry about what your up to. Also wastes less spray than spraying around in the air, since you can still wipe it on them with the brush.

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post #3 of 12 Old 03-12-2012, 09:17 PM
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It isn't a natural thing for most horses - desensitize him to the bottle/being sprayed as explained above. To avoid any unpleasant over-insecticiding issues or getting that nasty stuff in your eyes or mouth or the horses during the initial stages of working (and to be able to work on it daily, several times a day, etc) use regular water in the bottle during your training sessions.
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post #4 of 12 Old 03-12-2012, 09:22 PM
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Make the noise the bottle makes. like saying shh, every time.
My mare was comfortable with having her neck sprayed, so i started there. and worked my way down, back, and around.

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post #5 of 12 Old 03-12-2012, 09:27 PM
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I've owned 2 horses that thought I was spraying them with acid or something. In fact I still own one of them goofballs. He's all freaky deaky of it in the beginning of spring, then through desensitization, by the end of fall, he's cool with it. Goofball puts me through this every year. Yet my other (good, super intelligent) horse, closes his eyes and lowers his head so I will spray his ears. Obviously doesn't inherit his brains from his father, the aforementioned goofball.
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post #6 of 12 Old 03-13-2012, 01:28 AM
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When I bought my gelding, this was the only vice I was *told about, lol. He was terrified of the flay spray. So I Tried to spray him to see the reaction I would get. He started dancing around with his nose in the air. He is pretty respectfu and wont run me over or yank the rope ou of my hands so this is the appraoch I used on him. I took an empty fly spray bottle, and filled it with water. I sprayed some real fly spray on a brush anf brushed it into his neck and forelock so he hat the smell. The I start spraying him in a rhythmic manner spray, one two three, spray, one two three... I kept this up as he was dancing around me and stopped spraying *the moment* his feet were still. Then I let him relax and gave a treat. Did this agian, he stopped in 30 seconds, then the next time in 15 seconds. By the 5 or 6 time he was just bringing his head up. Then I would stop when his ears would relax and there was no white to his eye, showing him that what I wanted was him to relax, and thing end quicker. I alway offer a treat to to associate positive things. I NEVER spay at the face, I know alot of people do, but imagine getting that in your eyes, nose and mouth-would you stand still? I spray on a small sorft brish for the head face area, and wipe on. I also use a brush on the body while the spray is damp to work it into the hair for a longer lating effect (but the stuff I use also has coat conditioner and sunscreen--my pathetic attempt to keep my black horse black), but I sure lovw the smell XD
I did this exact same procedure with my mae when I got her, who was never sprayed, but because she is a dominant and pushy type horse, I lunged her first to establish dominance and MY space. It took a few minutes longer, but each were desensitized within a day and now stand untied in the field for a spray when I approach them.
Sorry about the novel
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post #7 of 12 Old 03-13-2012, 01:32 AM
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Excuse all the typos! I am on a friends computer whoes keyboard is massive, and I never preread before posting, my bad!
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post #8 of 12 Old 03-13-2012, 08:59 AM
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Take an empty fly spray bottle and fill with water (water is free and should be used to condition horse to sound of spray instead of fly spray cost). Put horse in small area (stall) and allow him/her to be free. Spray water on front legs, give cookie and pats, repeat. When horse is OK with legs quit for the day. Next day repeat and add in neck.

Idea is slowly over a few days push the horses comfort zone. Reward after spraying so horse starts to think spray = cookie.

Face should be last but try in this order:
1.) Front legs
2.) neck
3.) Rear legs
4.) body - shoulder, barrel, haunches
5.) face (or put fly spray on your hands them wipe your hands on his face). Be careful not to spray the eyes or inside the ears.

The key here is to take your time and let the stall confine the horse rather than tying him/her. That way horse doesn't feel like the spray monster can "get" him if he's tied and can't get away. I find where possible if I allow the horse to move a bit (in the beginning, after a few months or so they must learn to stand still) it enables the horse to accept the situation more quickly.
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post #9 of 12 Old 03-13-2012, 09:15 AM
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Armed with treats, I'll begin by spraying (water) off to the side. If the horse stands still, it gets a treat. I will gradually work the spray toward a front hoof, always rewarding for standing still. I prefer to do this at liberty. If the horse leaves, that's ok but he does know you have treats and he has to figure out that he has to return in order to get one. When you can spray his knee, he'll likely be good for an overal spraying. When you are near his opposite shoulder offer another treat. Don't worry about his neck just yet. Practise this several times daily for a few days and he will soon look forward to getting sprayed. Get him used to having a rag wipe his face, starting with his cheeks and offering a reward. Then his face.
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post #10 of 12 Old 03-13-2012, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Valentina View Post
The key here is to take your time and let the stall confine the horse rather than tying him/her. That way horse doesn't feel like the spray monster can "get" him if he's tied and can't get away. I find where possible if I allow the horse to move a bit (in the beginning, after a few months or so they must learn to stand still) it enables the horse to accept the situation more quickly.
I like the idea of not tying the horse...I've found that horses that would pull back when tied are much more cooperative when just 'gently' confined, even out in the pasture. I usually start by just looping a lead rope around their neck to gauge the reaction to the spray. It provides some containment without real restraint that is easy to control or release as needed.

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fly spray tips

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