Problems with horses: swimming
Bathing – a useful and pleasant procedure – can give you a lot of unpleasant moments if the horse for some reason decided to resist.
Can you bathe your horse on the grass on a free tombour? Do you need a junction or even a closed room? Does the horse scare the hose?
You can acquaint the horse with a dip on a large lawn by holding it on a tombour. This is done by desensitization (the principle is the same as when training for a whip or rope). Do not pull the tshombur, follow the horse with a stream of water until the horse stops. Turn off the water and let it relax.
As a rule, horses are bathed in specially designated places and put them at a junction. If your horse doesn’t stand well at the interchanges and does not want to endure the water, you will have to return to some basic patience exercises and a calm reaction to the interchanges.
If a horse can stand patiently and quietly at junctions, try to bring it to a place where you usually bathe horses. We have this place open and consists of two well-fixed pillars with a special platform for swimming between them. Wherever you decide to bathe a horse, it must first become familiar with the bathing area and the surface of the site. Go to the “sink” and stop. Let the horse get comfortable with the setting. Ask her to go through the car wash several times (first go forward, then log in from the other end if you have two entrances or an open area). Go and exit as when loading into a horse transport. Come in and wait. In a few minutes the horse will already be quietly standing inside the bathing room.
Water can be turned on after you have put the horse at a junction. “Introduce” water as you did during desensitization lessons. If you have a hose that has an unwinding / reeling system, it will be more convenient for you – and you will not get confused and the horse will not step on it.
Turn on the small head (do not turn on the hissing sprinkler), direct the jet to the shoulders or legs (as in the picture or video). Direct the jet at one point until the horse stops worrying. Then turn off the water. Let the horse stand for a moment. She will probably try to leave, trying to avoid the jet. If the horse panics, you will need to go back and work on patience and trust.
Suppose a horse calms down and stands relaxed when you send a stream to its shoulders. Now slowly move the jet down the legs until it starts to object. Wait until she stops nervous or moving, and remove the water again. Move the stream to the withers, then move to the rump. Every time the horse calms down, turn off the water or put it aside. When you move your neck, the horse will probably begin to twist its head to avoid getting water on its face. Do not try to wash her face at this stage.
When the horse will tolerate a simple jet everywhere on its body, it will be possible to try to switch the hose to the sprinkler mode. It creates noise and hiss, so first turn on the sprinkler, not directing it to the horse. And then start the process from the beginning, as you did with the simple stream.
The ideal time for a bathing game is when your horse has worked particularly well and has sweated heavily. Almost all of my horses quickly become accustomed to bathing on hot days, and even learn to enjoy when I give them a hose.
Now we will try to wash the horse’s face (my quiet stream, not the spray gun).
Start at the back of the head or between the eyes. The horse will throw his head up. One of my horses began to face off and spark – she really didn’t like the water on her face. The conditions were safe and she did not turn over. But she told me how much she did not like what was happening. I did not get in her way, but continued to persist when she “returned.” The horse realized that her little tantrum did not stop this process.
When your horse makes the slightest movement to lower the head (random movement), remove the water. You will teach a horse that by lowering her head while washing, she will do the right thing. As you learn, before removing the stream of water, ask the horse to lower its head and stay in that position for a short time. First, it will be difficult to do – the horse can fight and throw his head up and down faster than you can react, but do not back down until you “catch” the head for a moment if you can. Remember that the key is to release pressure. When the horse calms down, you take away the water.
If you cannot catch the moment when the horse has lowered its head, try resorting to a desensitizing lesson: just send a stream to the head until the horse stops fighting it. After five minutes of struggle, my candlestick horse calmly tolerated the drops that fell into her eyes.