How to water down a horse who hates the hose - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 27 Old 07-16-2015, 10:02 AM Thread Starter
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How to water down a horse who hates the hose

We have a couple barn horses that freak out over the sound of the spraying, spitting hose (it has lots of air in the line), so to have a calmer more relaxing hose-down of those guys, we use a watering can, like you'd use in the garden. They tense up the first time, but after that just relax and let the water pour over them. Also, the kids love using that can more than the hose for some reason.

It's also great if you just had a lesson with 8 other people and everyone's lining up for the single washrack! :)

Of course, you can and probably should desensitize your horse to the spray, but if you don't have time or the inclination (or it's not your horse), this is another option for those of us in the northern hemisphere experiencing some dang hot days.

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“When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ” ~ William Shakespeare
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post #2 of 27 Old 07-16-2015, 10:24 AM
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Desensitization is always the first and best option. Since you have made it clear you won't be doing that... If you really need to cool off your horse, you can try filling a feed bucket with water and slowly pour it over the horse. But I will say that your horse will likely not be pleased about this either.
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post #3 of 27 Old 07-16-2015, 10:35 AM
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I have a bit of this problem too. We have 5 horses on the property - 3 don't mind the hose at all, sometimes they dislike colder water between their hind legs or so, but most of the time you can let the hose run over, or even shower them (we poke a finger in to make the water splash), no problem.

The other 2 - PANIC when they hear water running from the hose towards them..

Yesterday I started Clicker Training with one of them, he got it quite fast. He will poke his nose in the water running from the hose, but he will not let me point the hose at him. The moment he feels he has had enough, he runs. And that is another problem we are fixing.

I can splash water on by hand, I can pour a bucket on him without panic (dislike, yes, but no panic) but we cannot hose him... And the moment he is wet he rolls. even after rain!!!
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post #4 of 27 Old 07-16-2015, 10:36 AM Thread Starter
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Like I said, the watering can works great. :)

“When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ” ~ William Shakespeare
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post #5 of 27 Old 07-16-2015, 10:48 AM
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Ha, I never thought of a watering can, sounds like a great solution in a pinch.
I used to use a bucket and a really big sponge. Starting out with a damp sponge to wipe down really shy horses, then progressing to dunking the sponge and wringing it out over them. I did this when I had a horse tied out of reach of the hose for years (the barn had one spigot in a hard to get to spot).
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post #6 of 27 Old 07-16-2015, 08:13 PM
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I like the technique to address a phobia called "flooding." It seems so appropriate in these cases.

I have the horse on a lead, the hose in hand and we start. We dance. When they eat they get hosed. When they are relaxed they get hosed. I play my music and have a water bottle near and they get hosed. I sing to them and rake the barn area, and they get hosed. I never respond to their anxiety while they get hosed. I put them up after a session like all went super. I rarely takes more than a couple.

I have had a couple horses that have been bitten by rattlesnakes and they feared anything snake shaped. Hoses, the shadows of fence posts, jump poles. They took a little longer.

One friend who is elderly why had me do this after her horse had been struck, laughed and said "I think he just made a face at you, rolled his eyes, and muttered 'Whatever...' "
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post #7 of 27 Old 07-16-2015, 08:40 PM
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^This.

I love the watering can idea, it's cute. I don't see it being effective at anything though, aside from "watering" the horse.

You can't get the spots you need to and it won't cool a horse.

If you can't hose you could at least sponge. Though ideally yes you would train.
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post #8 of 27 Old 07-16-2015, 08:50 PM
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I take the horse to a non-slip area where they can move around and not fall. I start with just a slow stream at their front feet and move up to the shoulders. I move to the withers and sides and up to the back and back to the back legs and work up to the behind and tail. I have the horse on a 20 ft lead and I let him walk, trot or run in circles while he's being hosed. I let him figure out that he's not going to die from getting wet and that he cannot escape the hose no matter what he does. Once he will stand and let me spray, we're good to go. I'll put him up with a bucket of feed and let him dry off. As long as they're eating, the don't roll.

I do the same thing with fly spray. I fill a spray bottle up with water (cheaper) and I spray and spray and spray until they stand still and allow it. Then I use the fly spray and they're over it.

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post #9 of 27 Old 07-17-2015, 02:18 AM Thread Starter
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Yogiwick, you're wrong. It does cool the horse. Maybe try it sometime so you can see it for yourself. It's cold water poured all over the horse and then squee-geed off and done again. It's a great solution for those people who can't or don't want to use hoses. Many endurance races don't have hoses, and they cool the horses down with buckets of water. It's the same thing.

“When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ” ~ William Shakespeare
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post #10 of 27 Old 07-17-2015, 06:04 AM
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I get it, we once had a spigot that was perpetually stuck on a "low pressure/high pressure/no water at all" cycle. We had horses that we would take swimming, that stood out in the rain, that we rode through sprinklers but still hated that spigot and I don't blame them. Luckily we had access to another spigot but I could see how using a bucket of water would help.

I had a small fight with a horse over the wash rack once (totally unexpected) but we had an extra long hose (probably over 75 ft) so I just kept up and the problem went away. I also knew someone who once set up sprinklers on the outside of a round pen and let the horse freak out a bit on his own.
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