Join Date: May 2009
Location: Manitoba, Canada
I haven't replied to this thread since late lastnight because I slept and then went out to see my horses...not avoiding the topic, just didn't have a computer til now.
Today I tried a couple of your suggestions. First I used a modified approach and retreat - get to where she starts twitching, stay there til she stands, then retreat and reward. Seemed to work well.
Then I tried just tapping her shoulder with my hand when she picked up a leg and said "QUIT". This didn't work at all...not only did she not stop shooing me with her leg, but she was extending the leg more instead of just stomping the ground. Tapping wasn't working.
So I went to my old method again - spray the area til she stands, stop and reward. Spray again, less movement, she'd stand, stop and reward. By the end of today she was standing without even shifting her weight.
I'm not sure how exactly everyone here got offended, but my purpose for this post was to hear alternative ways to teach a horse to stand for fly spray and I said on the first page I believe that hitting her will NOT work. It's not that I'm too light handed and it's not that I don't want to hit her - I promise if she ever bit me for whatever reason she'd get an uppercut to the nose. THIS situation however, doesn't warrant violence in my opinion. If I get rough with her over THIS, not only will she not accept the spray but I'll lose her trust, which has taken 2 years to build.
As for my comment about being too ignorant to try something else before hitting, I do find it ignorant to think hitting is a first resort. Look at the video again. She does not have "pinned" ears - they're swivelled to listen to both the spray and my voice. They're moving and not set straight backwards. The tail swish is just as likely to be from the water landing on the insides of her legs than disrespect towards me (which I still don't see considering I was controlling her fine with one hand), and the dancing is because of where I'm spraying. In no way am I trying to paint her as a perfect angel - she's irritated with what I'm doing and doesn't like it, but I'm not about to waste 20% of my fly spray so miss princess can avoid being sprayed there. After the end of today, I don't believe that her skin is so sensative it can't take fly spray because she was standing solid and just listening and watching. I proceeded til she accepted on both sides, gave her TONNES of praise, and went about our groundwork.
I've used a cloth in years gone by and yes, it does work...but the amount wasted is silly. When I do her face, I spray my hand and wipe it on her - a cloth absorbs too much of it.
Also, I CAN tie her at the ranch but the owner has made it clear that ALL horses, his and boarders' are to be tied with bailing twine. That way, when a horse that hasn't been taught to tie is tied and hauls back, it's the twine that breaks and not his hitching rails. He has a "patience post" in the back which is used as a wash rack. In any case, I can tie her to spray her and tried it today...didn't really make a difference other than giving me less control over where her feet went. I prefer her in hand so that when she steps forward, I can ask her to back and so on.
SO, thank you for all the replies and ideas, most were helpful. Even the ones I didn't take I tried just to know that I know they won't work on Eve.
Never ride faster than your guardian angel can fly