How to teach a horse to tolerate water from a hose/spray-bottle? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 07-15-2009, 12:02 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Gallant, Alabama
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How to teach a horse to tolerate water from a hose/spray-bottle?

This is something that I've been battling on and off for three years.

My youngest horse absolutely LOVES water... when it's in a pond, creek, river, stream, or lake. This same horse can NOT stand water when it comes from a hosepipe or spray-bottle.

When he was a foal, I tried to teach him that it was ok. He reared up, nearly went over backwards, fought, tried to get away... so much that I quit. His first year I gave him a bath with huge sponges and he still fought me, even though he tolerated it some. I tried again with the spray bottle last year a few times, but every time he went nuts. The last bath he got because he really needed it... I ended up tieing him a few inches away from a tree with a rope shipping halter and gave him a very quick bath. He still stretched the rope halter out about six inches fightig me and trying to get away. He's pretty much ok with water being poured from the hose onto his legs from the knee down, but if I go any higher he panics. He loves for me to hold the hose in front of his face so he can play with the water, though.

I was talking to my friend about his aversion to being wetted down with a hose or spray-bottle and she told me that one of her horses had the same problem. She ended up and got a spray bottle and her and her horse went in circles for about two hours with her spraying just one leg until the horse stood still. however, the horse of hers that she did this with is a 13.2 hand Welsh Pony... not an almost 15.2 hand Tennessee Walker. Also, while my friend is shorter than me, she is bigger than me and could hold onto her Pony mare a little easier than I could hold onto my gelding, I think.

I'm at my last rope... I'm seriously thinking about trying her method, but I don't want to get hurt... Is there any other safer ways to teach my boy to tolerate it? My mare just loves baths and being hosed down and doesn't mind sprays at all. I got her when she was 7, though, and she already enjoyed the water... so I didn't have to do anything more than reteach her how to stand tied without trying to pull whatever she was tied to across the yard/out of the ground... Lol.


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post #2 of 5 Old 07-15-2009, 12:11 AM
Join Date: May 2009
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Your friend has exactly the method you this method he can safely 'think' it through while keeping you and himself from harm. Tying him is not safe, and can compound the problem more, as he will feel clausterphobic besides, because he can't get away, or move about.

I would make sure you do this with a rope halter; preferably one that has the extra knots on the nose, as he won't lean on it as much, and that will help you be able to 'hold on' to him better. Just let him circle you, and keep the water aimed on his legs or side. When he stops, 'release' by dropping the water momentarily. Then continue wetting various spots. He WILL stop eventually...he's just gotta figure it out that it's not going to hurt him, but that it's also not going away, just because he moves away from it.

"The ideal horseman has the courage of a lion, the patience of a saint, and the hands of a woman..."
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post #3 of 5 Old 07-15-2009, 12:21 AM Thread Starter
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Ok. I guess I'll try it tomorrow... I have a rope halter and a pretty large spray-bottle. I haven't tried to really spray much on him tis year except for the occassional fly spray when the flies get really bad. He fights me then, too, but I only spray a few sports that the flies seem to flock to.

I'm a bit worried about him possibly hurting me without meaning to, though... He literally goes nuts and runs in circles and drags me with him when I spray things on him while holding him.

Horseshoe Loop Farm: Home of Gypsie (22 y/o TWH mare), Dakota (10 y/o TWH gelding), Codie (18 y/o Walkaloosa gelding) & Harlow (9 y/o APHA mare)
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post #4 of 5 Old 07-15-2009, 12:24 AM
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For Caleb, I took the spray bottle and rubbed it (quite vigorusly) all over his body with the nozzle parrelell to his body facing away from his face. At first I didn't spray then when he got more comfortable, I sprayed (light mist) while rubbing the bottle on his back rump and shoulders, then I moved to his neak, belly and legs. When he was comfortable I removed the bottle and sprayed from around 4" while using my hand where the bottle would be to reassure him, and then removed my hand once he was used to the spray.

You could try rubbing him with the hose too, on his back, neck,belly, upper legs and bum. Start with the hose off, then turn it on so its dribbling a little and work your way up.
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post #5 of 5 Old 07-15-2009, 01:07 AM
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I did the same thing with one of mine - I have a round pen so I didn't need to rope the horse at all - just stood in the middle with first the spray bottle and then the hose pipe, took a bit of time but worked a treat.

Currently I'm getting my 2 yr old to accept sprayed water by having a lawn sprayer in their field. It's near their shade so if he wants to get out of the sun he has to go near it. To start with he would just run around not knowing what it was and not understanding why he was getting sprayed on when he went near it - now he deliberately goes up to it so he can get wet and then roll and get muddy - he actually likes it and it's getting him used to sprayed water and the funny sounds it makes as well.
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