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Learning to be hosed

The babies this week have been learning to be bathed, a process of teaching them that the hose and the water coming out of it isn’t scary and building their trust in the process The way I teach this is a process of approach and retreat, predators never retreat and so the ability to demonstrate to the horses that this thing does go away is a big positive, but it’s also the timing of that retreat, the retreat is the moment of teaching and so timing is a priority. When I approach the horse or area of the horses body with hose I watch their behaviour and when they relax/stand still I then retreat away. The retreat can be a full retreat I.e water stops or can just be a move to a part of the body that the pony is happy with again so theirs a slight relief in the pressure and ultimately a reward. Through repetition the ponies learn that the water and hose aren’t going to hurt them and that it’s within their choice to be part of it....but remember the timing, of you remove the water whilst the pony is moving/tense/dancing around/head swishing then you are teaching that movement gets the water to go away, and suddenly movement is what they do more of, be prepared to make a big watery mess to start with but that’s all part of the fun Teaching and spending time with the horses to learn this is vital, if we rush and force then bath time will be forever stressful as the horse will never feel part of the decision making, but if we use this way of training and it becomes a conversation then bath time should become easy But patience is the key, you may only get the feet wet to start with; and that’s fine, each day practice, and gradually the horse will relax with water and the hose Have fun with it 

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