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Horse suddenly refuses to go near the outer bath area!

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  • Horse suddenly refuses to go near the outer bath area!

    So I have been hosing down my 3yo horse every day since it has been scorching hot here in the arid west. She seems to like it and even tries to drink from the hose. But today she planted all 4 feet and flat out refused to go near the outdoor bathing area. When I tried to do the little swing the lead rope behind me at her butt thing (which usually works) to keep her moving she actually backed up and tried to rear. This went on for about 15 minutes and I just decided I didn't know what to do and put her away and went home (plus it was like 95 degrees out so I was getting more and more annoyed which is bad). She would not even walk past the bathing area to where I usually graze her under the trees. She has never reared before at all and I don't want her to learn how.

    So, what is one to do when your horse flat out WON'T go where you want it to and is starting to rear? What would you have done? She has never acted like this about anything other than trailering (which we are still working on!).

  • #2
    Have you checked for yellowjackets or snakes? She may have a very good reason for not wanting to go near the area.

    Comment


    • #3
      One poster yrs ago had stray voltage somehow in the floor.


      If there is no reason for it, you can turn them in a couple of circles, and then try to lead in. Or turn and back them in.

      Comment


      • #4
        Electrical current in the ground, bugs, snakes, bad experience - there is a reason. Good horses don't turn bad instantly without a reason.

        Comment


        • #5
          Horses often have a reason. BUT, sometimes they don't; some horses decide they don't want to deal with something (like getting wet?) and throw a fit. In my probably unpopular opinion, they really have to work with the handler regarding the expression of that opinion. In other words, if it's not going to harm them, they have to deal with it to some degree. My 4 year old tends to exert an opinion about where he will and will not go and I've used backing up when he's bad (when he's decided he will NOT go into the barn) and treats when he's apprehensive (he will NOT put his face in water...except if there's a carrot there) to show him that he doesn't have a choice in such things. Now, he mostly listens. If there's a snake, he has to rely on me to tell him if he should be afraid or not. (This happened with two black racers going across the aisle when the horse was in crossies - I impressed on him that if I'm not afraid, he's safe, and stood between him and the snakes). Bees or yellowjackets, he has to rely on me to tell him if he should be afraid or not. MY horse needs a leader and will be afraid and then say "hey....that got me out of work...let me continue to act afraid" so I nip it in the bud. I'm the herd leader and this horse is learning I won't put him in harm's way. Perhaps your mare needs to learn this, too. In a gentle way, horses need to learn that bugs, snakes, and things that don't cause harm (not sure about electrical currents) are not an excuse to act up - they have to follow the lead of the handler.

          my two cents!
          Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            I didn't even think of snake or hornets. I have never seen hornets at the barn but there are tons of snakes in the area. I will check the whole area out really well today. I don't think it could be electrified because its a concrete pad surrounded by dirt outside but will check that too. It kinda seemed like she was just being a butt, but maybe not.

            Comment


            • #7
              While there may not be an electrical light or outlet near or related to the wash pad, electric lines servicing other areas may run under the area around the pad. Water draining off the pad is a good conductor of stray voltage, so a line several feet away that is compromised in some way (insulation has cracked) could be leaking voltage into the surrounding ground.

              *star*

              Originally posted by Pleiad View Post
              I didn't even think of snake or hornets. I have never seen hornets at the barn but there are tons of snakes in the area. I will check the whole area out really well today. I don't think it could be electrified because its a concrete pad surrounded by dirt outside but will check that too. It kinda seemed like she was just being a butt, but maybe not.
              "Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit."
              - Desiderata, (c) Max Ehrman, 1926

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by ShotenStar View Post
                While there may not be an electrical light or outlet near or related to the wash pad, electric lines servicing other areas may run under the area around the pad. Water draining off the pad is a good conductor of stray voltage, so a line several feet away that is compromised in some way (insulation has cracked) could be leaking voltage into the surrounding ground.

                *star*
                OK, so how do I check for it? Walk around barefoot? Seriously I don't know!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Here's a nice little reference that walks you through the steps:

                  http://www.mrec.org/pubs/svd.pdf

                  *Star*

                  Originally posted by Pleiad View Post
                  OK, so how do I check for it? Walk around barefoot? Seriously I don't know!
                  "Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit."
                  - Desiderata, (c) Max Ehrman, 1926

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Thank you! Will read before going out today.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I would also second the "stray voltage" theory. It can happen from a hot-wire fence (especially ones that have AC voltage vs solar power).

                      I went to turn out a horse after a rain, grabbed the metal gate that opens to the pasture and just about jumped back. It was the same gate that I always used, never a problem. For some reason, that one day, there was a voltage on the gate.

                      There have been a number of documented cases of horses unwilling to walk in certain spots where audio cables had been run in the sand arena.

                      There are cases of horses having been electrocuted from electrically heated horse waterers.

                      I once traded plumbing work for riding lessons. I installed a hot water line into a wash rack. I did NO electrical work....I just tapped into the hot water pipe in the powder room and ran a new section of pipe into wash rack. When you touched the valve to turn on the hot water, the person got a "tingle." Problem was the hot water heater had never been properly electrically grounded. You did not feel it in powder room because you were not standing on wet concrete to complete the circuit.

                      So, if this is a new behavior, perhaps "something electrical" happenned from when all was ok to now.
                      Do not confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress.
                      Alfred A. Montapert

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I think that sometimes we human "leaders" don't know everything--we're fallible, not God--and horses and other animals are tuned into things we can't sense. They can keep US safe at times, by refusing to go near something dangerous that we may not be aware of. My mare is a willing love of a horse so I listen to her when she says something out of the ordinary and emphatic when out on the trail. We take care of each other. Sometimes her judgement is wrong --that log is NOT an alligator--and sometimes I am--oh boy, didn't see that hole, bee's nest, etc...

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          OK, well today I thoroughly checked the area and no snakes, hornets etc. So then I took horse the other way through the property up to the outdoor wash area, a different approach than I have used before. She still planted all 4 feet the second she saw the concrete pad. This is a horse who just doesn't do obnoxious stuff like stomp, paw the ground, etc unless there is a fly biting her. She is usually very willing even if she's nervous. So I am definitely thinking the stray voltage theory might be correct and will ask others tomorrow if their horses are behaving weird, and talk to BO. Thanks for all your help!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ShotenStar View Post
                            Here's a nice little reference that walks you through the steps:

                            http://www.mrec.org/pubs/svd.pdf

                            *Star*
                            Facinating. I never heard of this. Thanks!
                            Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Is there any chance someone else has handled your horse? If so, did they have a incident that scared the horse?

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I'm guessing she doesn't like the hosing as much as you think she does, and she's telling you that enough is enough. If that's all that you ever do there (ie: no grooming w/out a bath) and you've been doing it every day, she now knows what going there means and doesn't want any part of it.

                                If I were in your shoes I'd do everything possible to get her there, or at least in the general area, and then do something like a good currying of itchy places followed by a pocketful of carrots, and then put her away. Insist that she follow you at least one step closer than she wants to go, then reward her. If you let her learn that saying "No, Won't!" gets her put back in her stall you're in for some not-fun retraining.

                                Comment

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