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- - Help! Please! (http://www.horseforum.com/horse-grooming/help-please-143548/)
Hey everyone! I have this little pony and his name is Peanut. He is terrified of getting a bath. He wont even let me get near him with the hose. :cry:
Does anyone know how to cure it?
Anything that you can think of please!!
My appy mare was the same way... here is was i did...
First i would just turn on the hose and let it run and just walk her all around it
once she stopped freaking out about that (took a few days) then i would just hold her and the hose but not turn it in her direction... usually just held her while i filled up the water buckets.
Then gradually i would put the hose on her feet... the second that she got ancy about it i immediately just went back to filling up buckets.
Once she was comfortable with her feet (front and back) i just moved up to getting more and more of her wet.. each time when she started to freak out i would move the hose back to her feet until she settled down.
Took along time but now she is not so bothered by getting a bath.
FOOD! other than that.. i have no idea. Distraction by food works with almost every horse or pony though. :/
Work, repetition and patience. Just like any other desensitization training. It's all about the timing of the release. You always start at the smallest possible baby-step, set them up for success. Apply the stimulus, and release when you get a relaxed response (like licking lips/chewing, blinking, cocking a leg, relaxing the ears, lowering the head). The important part is to not discontinue the stimulus until you get the relaxed response. If they freak out too much, it's because you took too large of a step, and need to break it down into smaller steps.
So, applying this to bathing, you start with the smallest possible step. For some horses, it's walking to the hose and simply turning it on. When they relax, you turn it off, giving them the release. Then you work up to spraying the hose at something 15 feet from them, again, when they relax, cease the stimulus. Soon they learn that if they want it to stop, they only need to relax. If you stop while they are flipping out, you teach them to flip out in order to get it to stop. Make sense?
Definitely all good responses!
Just make sure you don't stop if she gets antsy, like Tessa said, take very small steps, but if she gets really antsy and you stop, it tells her that to get away from the water, she just has to make a fuss! Make sure you stop when she gets quiet and relaxed.
You could try the buddy system. Tie him near by while you give an older horse a bath. Bring him a bit closer each time you bring the older horse in. This is how I trained my younger guy to clip and bathe.
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