Spraying a Horse's Face - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 05-07-2019, 08:38 AM Thread Starter
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Spraying a Horse's Face

This was discussed in a different thread, but I do not want to hijack.

Many of the posters there said not to spray the horse's face with water; you are only supposed to sponge the face. Why are you not supposed to spray a horse's face with water? I am not talking about jet spraying but, like, on a gentle shower rinse. My horse stands out in the rain, so I thought it'd be fine. While she doesn't necessarily "like" it, I taught her to accept being hosed on her face. She puts her head down, closes her eyes, and pins her ears (not in an aggressive manner but so water doesn't get into them). Then, I wipe her eyes, ears, and nose. I've never had any problems with it, including some other horse's I've taught to accept their face being sprayed. This is the first time I've heard you're not supposed to do that....
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post #2 of 12 Old 05-07-2019, 09:06 AM
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I wrote that not because I don't think it's necessarily a "no-no", it's just that if you haven't ever given the horse a bath and don't know how it will react, I wouldn't do it. All of my horses hate getting their face wet, period, even with a sponge. I guess it's something I could work on, but personally I don't bathe them enough that it matters to me.
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post #3 of 12 Old 05-07-2019, 09:50 AM
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I wash Hamlet's face with the hose, but (a) I use the "Shower" setting on the garden hose attachment, and (b) I let the water fall on him by directing the stream upwards and letting it fall back down on his head by gravity - just like rain would. It soaks the face, but it eliminates the uncomfortable feeling of getting sprayed in the face. He's not terribly amused by the procedure, but it doesn't seem to be that big a deal.
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post #4 of 12 Old 05-07-2019, 10:34 AM
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If you ever watch a horse who is caught out in a intense rain and downpour they will shake their head vigorously to shed the water off of and from within the ears.
When you spray water toward the horse, it is often not from above and for many "the shower" is a more intense concentrated water flow than Mother Nature provides...
If, if you get water with force inside the ear and down in the canal it can drive the horse crazy trying to get it out...
Horses ear canals are deep, filled with little hairs that are super sensitive to any pressure applied to them...they also have nooks and cranies that water droplets can get into distorting their hearing.
In a fight or flight animal diminishing their hearing to them jeopardizes their safety and life...
So, just carefully sponge a face with clear water...no soap cause just as soap in our eyes burns, so does it do to your horse.
A heavy mist of water from a horse overhead by a careful attendant may be tolerated by your horse, but watch their facial expression and eyes...
Most just tolerate but not truly enjoy water pouring on their face.

I have honestly only seen a few horses, happened to be racehorses who loved their faces sprayed with a hose, only ever on a shower or mist setting and then their ears were flat back against their head while they got a face bath.
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post #5 of 12 Old 05-07-2019, 10:58 AM
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@LoonWatcher spraying the face (hosing down the face opposed to water-gunning it lol) is fine. But I recommend against it only because OP hasn't ever bathed a horse before and doesn't know how hers will react. When, down the line, they have developed a good enough trust I think it's something to work on. In fact it's something I also need to work on my mare getting used to but really have only needed to do it when she's used her poo as a pillow lol. (grey horse yay)
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post #6 of 12 Old 05-07-2019, 11:04 AM Thread Starter
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I was just wondering, as I've never heard that before. I'm not saying that the horse has to "enjoy" it or to do it very often but enough so they will tolerate it.

There is this mare that I worked with her on it. Her owners never sponged, let alone sprayed, her face. While I was messing with the hose, my mistake, but I accidently sprayed her face. She pulled back hard and reared. If she was inside or in cross ties, it would have been a lot worse. Though, I know that could have still happned even if she was used to being sprayed because of the surprise. Again, I know that was my fault and a lot of horses don't really like getting their face wet, but I think of it more as a potential safety thing rather than a regular hosing or bathing thing.

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post #7 of 12 Old 05-07-2019, 11:21 AM
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My horse is probably the oddball, she LOVES the water. I don't spray her face directly, but I use a light setting on the hose nozzle, like @mmshiro , nothing crazy or hardcore & she even drinks from it sometimes.

I agree, if you are unsure of the horse, don't spray the horse's face...I wouldn't spray it directly, like I wouldn't like MY face sprayed directly either!
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post #8 of 12 Old 05-07-2019, 03:59 PM
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It all depends on the horse. I have one that can't hold still until he gets sprayed in the face with pressure. Loves it and thinks there's nothing better in the world. He will even steal the hose that's filling a tank and chase and spray other horses if they are in reach. In my herd I have all kinds. They hate, tolerate or love bathtime. I got an Ecotemp instant water heater for the haters. I have others that love to be sprayed, but the first rain drop sends them high tailing it to the barn. Others paw in the water tank or dunk their heads to swirl and slosh. Yes, they are fully aware I pay for the water they are wasting since I tell them every single time.

I fully understand and agree to mention to a first time bather to not spray the horse's face. It doesn't mean that the horse can't learn to accept or even love it down the road.
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post #9 of 12 Old 05-07-2019, 04:08 PM
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Another here who's horse doesn't mind. He came from the track, like someone else mentioned, and was already accustomed to having his face washed with the hose. Like someone else mentioned, I set mine to the garden spray on low setting. I stay away from the ears and just spray the front and sides of his face and wipe down with my hands. He lowers his head for me to make it easy to avoid spraying his ears.

My other horse hated it with a passion and I could only wash his face with a sponge.

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post #10 of 12 Old 05-07-2019, 09:29 PM
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My horses are amenable to having their faces washed with the hose if I take the sprayer off and just let it gently flow right out of the hose.
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