Never had a bath before? Advice? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 02-11-2014, 01:44 PM Thread Starter
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Question Never had a bath before? Advice?

So, as soon as Summer is here, I am planning on giving the horses bathes every month or so, but none of them have ever had a bath before. One is super mellow and I am not too worried about her as she is three and doesn't flinch no matter what you stick in her face, but the other two are a bit spirited. I have no idea where to start! I could just use a sponge a buckets of water but I am really hoping to be able to hose them off not spend hours trying to get them wet with a little sponge,haha! How do I get them used to water?-|
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post #2 of 10 Old 02-11-2014, 02:15 PM
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Even if one is mellow, she's three and hasn't been taught to bathe, so yes, you will probably have some issues with her too.

It's still too cold to work on running water over them, so for now just get them used to the hose, dragging it around them as they are standing tied/ wherever you will eventually be bathing them.

When it gets warmer and you start in with the water take it slow, start at the feet and work your way up. Other than that its just about pressure and release just like any other training situation you will have them in.

Why do you need to bathe them every month? Shows?

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post #3 of 10 Old 02-11-2014, 02:34 PM
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Mine get hosed off every day in sweaty weather - they come in from the field dripping with sweat and really appreciate being cooled off with a hosepipe
I suggest you start off with warm water in a bucket and a sponge to get the horses used to the feel of water running down them - and either hold them yourself or have an experienced person hold them for you - never a good idea to tie a horse up when you begin any desensitization training
Once they're OK with water get them used to a hosepipe - again not while tied up until they're used to it snaking around them and move from there to running water - just a trickle to start with
I use a sprinkler attachment - from any DIY store - that you can use to regulate the type of flow and the intensity the water comes out at.
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post #4 of 10 Old 02-11-2014, 03:09 PM
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I'll go one further and wonder why you'll bath them at all?
They'll enjoy a nice rinsing during hot weather (inside legs are best spot....less hair to hold water that will heat up and hold the heat, and they dissipate more heat from the legs with those blood vessels near the skin) and you can rinse the dirt off the body if you're showing (keep them away from dirt when you're done...they'll want to roll for a dirt bath). You can do that often (mine like to roll in the pond a lot, but that just leaves them dirtier) A rinse is really all they ever need. Plus you don't have to worry about any possibility of them having a skin reaction to whatever you elect to use.

They're always going to be bigger and stronger so you better always be smarter. (One of my grandfather's many pearls of wisdom)
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post #5 of 10 Old 02-11-2014, 04:27 PM
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Desensitize them with calm.

First have the hose near them, and do not approach until they are calm and cool with the running water. Then wet their feet, and again just be calm and leave the hose still until they realize it's not dangerous. It might take a while (and more than one session) to complete a full bath if they are scared.
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post #6 of 10 Old 02-11-2014, 05:07 PM
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I've found it's much easier to get a horse to accept, and even come to enjoy baths if you wait until the weather is warm enough that you can work them into a decent lather. If they are hot, then the cold water feels really good.

Anyway, for a horse's first bath, this is what I do. I work them hard until they're really sweaty and hot, then I untack them and take them out into an open yard with the hose in my hand. I hold the lead (do not tie them for this as that will make their initial fear turn to panic) and start by spraying the ground close to their front feet. If they need to move, I let them move in a circle around me, but I keep the water spraying the ground in the same proximity to their feet. Once they stand still with it spraying the ground, I stop the water spray and give them a scratch and let them stand for a minute. Then, I start again, working my way up to their feet. Again, if they move, I keep it spraying on their feet as they move circles until they stop and stand.

Keep repeating that, moving farther up their body each time and keep spraying until they stand still. IME, it's pretty rare to have one that doesn't stand steady after just a few minutes.
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post #7 of 10 Old 02-12-2014, 01:54 AM
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I have one person holding the lead rope so that's one less thing I have to worry about. I start with a bucket and sponge, starting on the neck, chest. Legs. Then the hose on real low pressure. Sponge in one hand, hose in the other and hose and rub at the same time. If they are good, I'll back off and leave them alone. I set them up for success so I just watch body language and make sure I don't push past that point of "i've had enough". I just don't rush things. Even the horse I have that would try to bolt when she saw the hose, she now stands there and likes it. I don't even tie her. I just have the rope around her neck so I can move her around so we're not in a puddle.
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post #8 of 10 Old 02-12-2014, 04:21 AM
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start low and slow, Low pressure on the finest and softest mist. Start at the feet, spray the ground near the horse, and once she is calm with that move to her feet, and wait for her to accept it and move up the leg. Go s-l-o-w. Slowly move the hose up the legs in small increments. As the horse accepts each move, move up. Gradually increase the pressure and the spray settings.Wont take too long. Before you know it when you untack they will walk to wash rack.
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post #9 of 10 Old 02-12-2014, 08:58 AM
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Maybe it's personal preference but I really rather not have another person holding the horse, because if they're nervous and spinning circles around you it's just one more person in the way of things.

I think hosing off with water in hot weather is great, but I don't think that soap is necessary every time.

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. -Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
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post #10 of 10 Old 02-13-2014, 12:02 PM
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Always start bathing your horse by spraying the water on their back or front legs first, that way they know waht is coming and how cold the water is, etc.

With my horses, here is what I do.

I spray both their legs first, usually the back an work my way up with the water. Then I spray their hind end and slowly work my way towards their shoulders, making sure that they are okay with it.
If there is a bathing stall I usually tie them up, but when there isn't then I hold them. Sometimes they will dance around in circles when I bath them just because they don't like to get wet. I keep moving with them, spraying the water on their legs or body until they stop moving, then I stop spraying the water on them as a reward for holding still and not worrying about it.

If they are tied up and move around, I just let them. They can't go anywhere far so they can deal with it, hehe!!

When I get to their necks, I stand next to their head and spray their neck towards their hind, so now water unexpectedly splashed up in their face or ears.
When I wash their face I always do it with a sponge, its better so the water doesnlt get in their ears or in their eyes, etc.

Chocky, our youngest horse, wants to drink the water. He will literally put his mouth in front of the hose - no matter what setting it is on if there is a head on it, when there is he prefers the shower option or center. - but he will drink the water like that. It is so cute!
Then Golley, he just hates water. He will dance around for a bit - but after a few minutes he realizes that he won't be getting away with it and gives up.

It just takes time and lots of patience if they don't like it.

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