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.
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.
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 demonstrate
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.
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.
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 !
can learn all sorts of ground training exercises, both in-hand and longeing in
Longeing and Long Lining Exercises
and Long Lining the
English and Western Horse.
of luck and let me know how you make out.