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Bathing issues!

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  • Bathing issues!

    Hello all! I have a horse who has excellent ground manners and is very tolerant and willing to please with all ground work except for one thing- bathing. As soon as I start to put water on him he dances around everywhere. I have tried warm water, cold water, bathing slowly, bathing quickly, bathing inside, bathing outside, holding him, cross ties, tying him to a bar, a stud chain... everything besides a twitch which has been suggested. What do you guys think I should do? Any bathing suggestions? Thanks in advance!
    "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard"
    R.I.P Claire Davis: 12/21/13

  • #2
    My horse is the same way. Normally I can use the clicker to get him to tolerate anything. He is fine with being bathed using a very large sponge. Sometimes you have to pick your battles.
    PA Hi-Ly Visible [PA Hi-Noon (by Magnum Psyche) x Takara Padrona (by *Padron)]

    Proud member of the Snort and Blow Clique

    Comment


    • #3
      Two things helped one of my horses that was like that:

      1. Figuring out he has food and environmental allergies and the water bothered his skin. I don't know how he survived the rain all these years.

      2. An adjustable shower nozzle and set on the lowest shower setting.

      I never have tied him, just throw the rope over the fence so he has wiggle room.

      I haven't had to use the riding crop on those kicking back legs, since I discovered his allergies, took away grain & soy and started treating him with herbs seasonally for the environmental allergies.

      His 16.1H self is 19 and has been a pip to bath since I bought him as a 2+ yr old. He never liked to be brushed; I have a fortune in brushes.

      But he's good about everything now

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Originally posted by walkinthewalk View Post
        Two things helped one of my horses that was like that:

        1. Figuring out he has food and environmental allergies and the water bothered his skin. I don't know how he survived the rain all these years.
        How did you figure out that the water bothered his skin?
        "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard"
        R.I.P Claire Davis: 12/21/13

        Comment


        • #5
          I would use a big sponge and bucket. Tedious, but it might work.

          Will he let you run water on his lower legs? You should at least try for that; it's a handy first aid technique.
          Ride like you mean it.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by walkinthewalk View Post
            Two things helped one of my horses that was like that:

            1. Figuring out he has food and environmental allergies and the water bothered his skin. I don't know how he survived the rain all these years.

            2. An adjustable shower nozzle and set on the lowest shower setting.

            I never have tied him, just throw the rope over the fence so he has wiggle room.

            I haven't had to use the riding crop on those kicking back legs, since I discovered his allergies, took away grain & soy and started treating him with herbs seasonally for the environmental allergies.

            His 16.1H self is 19 and has been a pip to bath since I bought him as a 2+ yr old. He never liked to be brushed; I have a fortune in brushes.

            But he's good about everything now
            Thank you for this excellent advice.
            PA Hi-Ly Visible [PA Hi-Noon (by Magnum Psyche) x Takara Padrona (by *Padron)]

            Proud member of the Snort and Blow Clique

            Comment


            • #7
              More baths.

              I got my Arab/QH as a long two year old. He had good ground manners, but wasn't too thrilled with the thought of bathing. So it became a daily occurrence. He got hosed off after every ride. I'd tie him to the corner post (didn't have a wash rack at the time, so we used a sunk-in-concrete-telephone pole that was the corner post for the pasture) and hose him off. I didn't care what he did as long as he didn't pull back or kick. I just kept on spraying, following him and only stopping when he would stand still. Took him about a week until he gave up the dance and decided it was WAY easier to just stand there. Nine years later he gets bathed by a 13 year old girl who leases him while ground tied.

              We ride 7-10 horses day, most in for training. Some come in with great bath manners, others act like they've never seen water before. Every one of them gets the same treatment...hosed after every. single. ride, even if they are not sweaty, then tied to the patience tree. Hasn't failed yet...every horse figures out sooner or later (the "later" crowd taking a week, the "sooner" about two days) that dancing around and pitching a fit doesn't get them anywhere. Now I have access to a wash rack and cross ties, but for the ones who are convinced the water is acid I just hold them next to the fence and make them deal with it. We're not talking water pressure high enough to take skin off or hurt...just a general shower.

              Patience, repetition, and firmness. If they run you over, turn into Godzilla. I always have a bat in my back pocket for the rude ones. Hell, the worst one was a gangly Warmblood who spent the better part of two years in a pasture. Ground manners were what we expected of a horse occasionally caught to be groomed and hooves trimmed...non-existent. He threw a huge tantrum the first few times, but now he gets mad if you don't spray his face first thing. He even drinks from the hose.
              runnjump86 Instagram

              Horse Junkies United guest blogger

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by runNjump86 View Post
                More baths.

                I got my Arab/QH as a long two year old. He had good ground manners, but wasn't too thrilled with the thought of bathing. So it became a daily occurrence. He got hosed off after every ride. I'd tie him to the corner post (didn't have a wash rack at the time, so we used a sunk-in-concrete-telephone pole that was the corner post for the pasture) and hose him off. I didn't care what he did as long as he didn't pull back or kick. I just kept on spraying, following him and only stopping when he would stand still. Took him about a week until he gave up the dance and decided it was WAY easier to just stand there. Nine years later he gets bathed by a 13 year old girl who leases him while ground tied.

                We ride 7-10 horses day, most in for training. Some come in with great bath manners, others act like they've never seen water before. Every one of them gets the same treatment...hosed after every. single. ride, even if they are not sweaty, then tied to the patience tree. Hasn't failed yet...every horse figures out sooner or later (the "later" crowd taking a week, the "sooner" about two days) that dancing around and pitching a fit doesn't get them anywhere. Now I have access to a wash rack and cross ties, but for the ones who are convinced the water is acid I just hold them next to the fence and make them deal with it. We're not talking water pressure high enough to take skin off or hurt...just a general shower.

                Patience, repetition, and firmness. If they run you over, turn into Godzilla. I always have a bat in my back pocket for the rude ones. Hell, the worst one was a gangly Warmblood who spent the better part of two years in a pasture. Ground manners were what we expected of a horse occasionally caught to be groomed and hooves trimmed...non-existent. He threw a huge tantrum the first few times, but now he gets mad if you don't spray his face first thing. He even drinks from the hose.
                I'm going to print this out and put it on my fridge. Thank you!
                PA Hi-Ly Visible [PA Hi-Noon (by Magnum Psyche) x Takara Padrona (by *Padron)]

                Proud member of the Snort and Blow Clique

                Comment


                • #9
                  Haha you're welcome!! Bathing is one thing I'm very picky about, and I've found that just not giving in is the way to go. Cookies after a good bath day are optional...but highly recommended.
                  runnjump86 Instagram

                  Horse Junkies United guest blogger

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I find the approach and retreat method pretty useful for most horses. If I'm worried they might really pitch a fit I hold them in hand, and spray them with a hose nozzle. If they dance I keep spraying. If they stand for half a second, I stop and praise. Repeat, building up the amount of time you expect them to stand for. I mostly ignore the fussiness, unless they try to drag me around or push into me, which is dealt with accordingly. Not a fan of twitching or the like for this type of issue. Use warm water if possible, and make sure you have enough hose (and patience) to follow the horse around. Don't get upset, just keep up with them.
                    I only do this if they're really bad. Otherwise I just move with them and bathe them as though they were standing still. Fussing gets them nowhere.
                    As Peter, Paul, and Mary say, a dragon lives forever.

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by walkinthewalk View Post
                      Two things helped one of my horses that was like that:

                      1. Figuring out he has food and environmental allergies and the water bothered his skin. I don't know how he survived the rain all these years.

                      2. An adjustable shower nozzle and set on the lowest shower setting.

                      I never have tied him, just throw the rope over the fence so he has wiggle room.

                      I haven't had to use the riding crop on those kicking back legs, since I discovered his allergies, took away grain & soy and started treating him with herbs seasonally for the environmental allergies.

                      His 16.1H self is 19 and has been a pip to bath since I bought him as a 2+ yr old. He never liked to be brushed; I have a fortune in brushes.

                      But he's good about everything now
                      I just wanted to say I tried this today and my horse was absolutely perfect!! You are the best!
                      "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard"
                      R.I.P Claire Davis: 12/21/13

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Sponging one down so they are soaked, then using a hose can also help with a horse that acts fearful. If they are already soaked, the hose spray isn't as noticeable to them.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          My TB gelding is very suspect of the "long yellow snake". I make sure the water is luke warm shower, he is in cross ties and I let him dance away. My trainer said that with nervous horses, making them stand still heightens their stress over the situation. After a few dance sessions, in which I quietly kept bathing him but didn't try to make him stand still, he calmed himself and now does pretty well.
                          "Punch him in the wiener. Then leave." AffirmedHope

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