Wash Stall Nightmares...
My horse, Jerry, seems to be afraid of the wash stall. He doesn't like to go in forwards, but if you back him in he will eventually get in. He seems to enjoy the water and the sensation of being bathed, but he seems tense in the wash stall. The lighting is fine, there are no "scary" objects (except for the hose and a closet, but he's fine with them), and crossties hold the horse in.
Any ideas on what might be causing this?
Any ideas on how to get him in?
Horses are naturally claustrophobic. How big is your wash stall? Is the flooring surface different than the ground outside it? I'm assuming the cross-ties are not a problem.
If it's big enough, there are a couple of things to try. Just work on leading in and out. Start slow. Get him to the point that he starts to tense up, then try to get him to relax. Lead him away and come back. Try to get him just a half step closer each time, rewarding him when he relaxes. Once he goes in quietly, give him a treat or a little bit of feed. Let him associate the wash rack with something pleasant. If there is something that motivates him better than food, do that in the wash rack.
Just work slow and quiet.
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