Horse Training, Horse Care, and Riding Books and Videos from Cherry Hill at www.horsekeeping.com
from Cherry Hill

101 Longeing and
Long Lining Exercises
Longeing and Long Lining
the English and Western Horse
Trailering Your
Horse
How To Think
Like A Horse
Cherry Hill's Horsekeeping Almanac
101 Longeing and Long Lining Exeercises
Longeing and Long Lining the Western Horse
How to Think Like A Horse by Cherry Hill
How to Think Like A Horse by Cherry Hill

Home | BooksArticles | Shopping | View Cart | Contact | Site Map | Search

Horse Training, Horse Care, and Riding Books and Videos from Cherry Hill at www.horsekeeping.comHorse Training, Horse Care, and Riding Books and Videos from Cherry Hill at www.horsekeeping.com   Horse Training, Horse Care, and Riding Books and Videos from Cherry Hill at www.horsekeeping.com  

Horse Training, Horse Care, and Riding Books and Videos from Cherry Hill at www.horsekeeping.com

July 26, 2008

Getting a Horse Into the Wash Rack

  2008 Cherry Hill   Copyright Information

Hi Cherry,

Thanks for taking the time to answer my email. My 6 year old gelding will not go into out barn's wash racks easily. We have tried everything from treats to pushing and all he will do is plant him hooves firmly and not move or he will back up even farther. I have tried to be patient with him but he will not budge. I even tried taking him to an alternative washing area that has cross ties and looks like a regular grooming area, but he still wouldn't go in.

Once or twice we finally got him in and he enjoyed his bath. We gave him a bunch of treats, massaged him, and made sure he wasn't stressed. I don't know what I'm doing wrong and since summer is approaching I'm afraid about him and the heat. Any advice would help.

Thanks,
Troubled Horse Owner

 

Hi THO,

Loading a horse into a wash rack is very similar to loading him into a horse trailer. You need to be sure he is accustomed to all the sights and sounds and confines of the wash rack before you ask him to walk into one. As I How to Think Like A Horse by Cherry Hilldemonstrate with photos in Trailering Your Horse, long before you ask your horse to walk into a horse trailer, you ask him to walk over concrete, rubber mats, bridges, areas with low ceilings and so forth, all to prepare him for some of the aspects of the trailer.

With the wash rack, I can't see yours, so I can't say what he is reacting negatively to, so you will have to do some detective work to determine what it is exactly he is resistant to. Then simulate those things elsewhere so you can work on them.

But as far as getting him to walk into the wash rack, I would definitely not use treats or pushing. I would review (or perhaps teach him for the first time) the lesson of sending the horse forward. This should be part of every horse's ground training program and is how you get a horse to begin longeing. You send him out ahead of you, the same way you send him into a trailer. So if your horse does not know this lesson, he needs to learn it. You can teach this lesson in a variety of ways, but basically think of it like this - you want your horse to walk about 5 feet ahead of you but alongside you on about a 10-15 foot lead. As I said before, it is similar to how you start a horse to longe (or drive) but instead of him turning, you want him to walk straight ahead. I like to teach this alongside an arena rail using a 20 foot lead line and an in-hand whip for guidance and to keep the horse straight. You'd start walking along side him as normal, then increase the distance between you so you are quite far out to his side. Then you would begin dropping back. Once he gets comfortable with this arrangement, you should start him from a standstill with you off to his side and slightly to the rear. Send him forward. Then once he has this down, use poles, a bridge a tarp or other obstacles to test how solid the "go forward" lesson has become. Once you try to enter the wash rack again, he'll act like it is a piece of cake !

You can learn all sorts of ground training exercises, both in-hand and longeing in my books

101 Longeing and Long Lining Exeercises101 Longeing and Long Lining Exercises

and

Longeing and Long Lining the Western HorseLongeing and Long Lining the
English and Western Horse
.

Best of luck and let me know how you make out.

Ask Cherry Hill

  2008 Cherry Hill   Copyright Information

Home | BooksArticles | Shopping | View Cart | Contact | Site Map | Search

The information contained on this site is provided for general informational and educational purposes only.
The suggestions and guidelines should not be used as the sole answer for a visitor's specific needs.