Saturday, December 18, 2010

41. Handling Level 4

Goal: Allows wet cloth from bucket rubbed all over body and legs hosed off (with cold water)

Since the horse is already familiar with you placing your hands all over his body and also has learned that a running hose is nothing to be fearful of, this level should be straight forward to train. Ideally, this could be trained on a warm day so the horse is comfortable or after some exercise. If not, try to train in a protected location the horse is familiar with, out of the wind so he doesn’t cool off too quickly. You want his first experiences as positive as possible.

What are the criteria you will be adding in this level of training?

Increasing wetness of cloth
Changing temperature of water from warmish to cold
Using soap (if desired)
Accepting running water on legs and hooves
Distance of hose from feet/legs
Distance of nozzle from feet/legs
Angle of water flowing from hose

Training to Accept a Washcloth
Have horse target dry cloth.
Place coth over your hand and starting at the shoulders, rub the dry cloth all over his body, ‘working the clock’ as before and progressing to the rest of the body in steps, each training session do a different part. Give him a few minutes to relax between training sessions.  Take care at the more sensitive parts of his body. Rub each leg down starting at the stifle and work your way down. Try the reverse as well.

Dampen cloth with warmish water and rub it all over horse’s body, starting at shoulders ‘working the clock’ as before and progressing to the rest of the body.
Use warmish water to get the cloth so it drips a little while you rub it on the horse.
Use warm water to get the cloth very wet so it drops on the horse as you wash. Exaggerate your movements as you lift the cloth and allow it to drip on the horse as you raise the cloth into position.
Cool off the temperature of the water in steps (lukewarm, cool, cold) until it is coming straight out of hose.
Add soap (if desired) (encourage horse to smell it before using it on him) and lather (or not if you do not plan to hose his whole body down at this point)

Training to Accept Flowing Water on feet and legs.
Start with hose-no nozzle so the water runs freely, with little pressure and more quietly
Ask horse to target running hose
Move hose towards his front hoof. Click and remove (c/r) at closest point.
Move hose so water splashes for a second on his hoof. c/r at closest point.
Add duration to water flowing on hoof (use Peck 300).
Move hose closer or further from hoof, depending on reaction of horse.
Each time you move the stream of water back towards the horse, raise the flow so it flows on his fetlock then cannon, gasket on up to the top of his stifle in small steps.

Move the hose away from the legs to create more of a splash and start again at the hoof and work your way up.
Try different angles with your crouching and the water streaming upwards and you standing and the water flowing downwards.

Train other front leg the same way.
Train back legs one at a time.
Hose each of the front legs alternatively.
Hose each of the back legs alternatively.
Hose all 4 legs alternatively.

Adding Nozzle
Add nozzle to the hose and put on mist setting and start again with one front hoof. Progress as you did with the hose through all 4 feet and legs.
Change nozzle to stronger setting and repeat.
Change nozzle to its strongest setting you would normally use on a horse for washing and repeat.

Next reverse the hosing to start from the top of the stifle and let the water flow down his legs to the hoof. Alternate between legs.

Be careful to keep the hose and nozzle pointed down and away from his face at all times, to minimize spraying the horse in the face. That needs to be taught separately to show him it’s all part of the process and nothing to get worried about.

1 comment:

  1. Good post. So many people teach baths by forcing the horse.

    Teaching a horse to take a bath can be very low key and stress free if the handler breaks it down into small steps.

    With some practice, many horses learn to love getting hosed off!