Working with or without help is not a part of basic horsemanship. You clearly have a different background and different views on the subject. Your opinion on this matter is neither right or wrong. My opinion is neither right or wrong. My background is I learned under my father who has been training/showing/breeding horses professionally for over 50 years. I have been in many many barns of other professional trainers and watched them work, and my favorite place to be at a horse show is in the warm up ring watching people get ready. In my little part of the horse world, I am used to the concept of grooms and people commonly doing things in teams. It is common for a groom to hold while the trainer adjusts tack, or checks a foot, or gets on the horse, especially when being washed, because to the section of the horse world I grew up in, it is just safer and less stressful. And I know that there are many people, many of my friends, many professional trainers with different backgrounds that do everything by themselves because they believe it is safer.
To me, it IS basic horse/human safety to have a buddy when washing. Just as it is a basic horse/human safety precaution to hold the horse while the farrier is under him, or when the vet is doctoring him. I expect my horse to behave in order for other people to do stuff to him. It is not a vets responsibility to hold him, correct him, handle him while he draws blood(and equally unpleasant task to baths IMO). How is one person doing unpleasant things to him any different than another?
Maybe we should start a new thread on the topic?
I also disagree with experienced people refusing to help this girl(I doubt she asked). This doesn't sound like a huge issue at all that will make people shy away. He isn't exploding, he isn't kicking out like a mountain lion was attacking him, he isn't freaking out and throwing himself. A simple request for help("hey could you hold him while I wash his tail.") is all it should take.
What she wrote does not match her title at all. This horse is not scared of the bath. The bath itself is not the problem. It is the situation that is the problem. The horse Is getting frustrated and impatient, and has been manipulating the person washing(the op) with his body to protest. Swishing his tail, moving his body towards her to push her around. He's not retreating. He is telling her "I do not like this. You need to stop." She also said she was spending more time on the baths, which likely is causing him to be more impatient. He needs to be corrected for this behavior which is difficult to do from, say the horse's hip when washing, or when you are knocked off balance. He needs to be corrected immediately.
The underlying problem is that he thinks he can push his handler around. Respect issue. The patience issue is helped with building respect. He does need some one-on-one time with his girl or a trainer and then his girl to reestablish his respect in general, but he needs to have someone there to tell him his behavior is unacceptable from the second it happens. It doesn't sound like she is just hosing him off. It sounds like she is right up next to him, scrubbing and washing away those dreaded gray horse stains.
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Last edited by LadyDreamer; 06-14-2013 at 11:47 AM.