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Horse Behavior and Training

fly spray and creeks


This is probably dumb but here is my question. First of all I went to spray some fly and tick spray on my new 4 yr. old and had a guy helping me. His idea was to tie him up short and spray him until he got used to it. Well I am not sure that is the best approach. The other question is I have an older arabian, when we are chasing cows nothing slows him down when he is hot on the tail of a cow. He will go through creeks, rivers, bogs you name it. The rest of the time he won't do it. Even if we ride through something after a cow and then turn around and try to cross at the same place 5 minutes later. How do you get past that. Well I look forward to hearing your advice and thank you folks so much, I truly believe that this will help me to become a better horseman and get past the old school thinkin I was raised around. I am sure I will have better relationships with my horses and better horses because of it.

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For the fly spray, I would work in an arena or open area where you can school the horse. Try to spray him and if he moves put him to work doing circles, yielding the forehand/hindquarters, etc. After a few moments, allow him to stand and try again. Be sure to stroke him and give him lots of praise when he gets it right. This method makes it quite easy for the horse to learn that standing for the spray is the most pleasant thing to do.

As for the creek issue, I would refer to the lessons about crossing water. It sounds as though your gelding only goes through when he is preoccupied and may not actually have the training to negotiate these obstacles.

It is great to hear that you want to build better relationships with your horses. I'm sure you will all be happier in the long run. Good luck!

Hello! 100 lessons completed

In my short experience with horses I realized that they don’t like any spray sound. Maybe because that reminds them the whistle of a snake, or else, I don’t really know. As a matter of fact, I guess that they don’t like anything unusual close to them.
So, any time I approach my mares with something “unusual” in my hands (spray, medicines, whatever), I first present it to them and let them sniff it a while, adding some silly talking about how safe it is and how good it will be to them. I am quite sure that they do not understand a single word of what I am saying, but I keep talking to them anyway, hoping that my voice tone will transmit my message to them, in a way.
For the fly spray, after the sniffing, I first start spraying the product in my hand, paying attention that they can see what I am doing. I spray once, let them calm down, then I repeat the spraying few times, until they show little or no reaction to my exercise. Then I start rubbing them with my same hand, first in the face and the whole head, then other parts of their body. At each spay, I show them what I am doing. After a while, they seam to understand that nothing dangerous is happening and they relax, allowing me to spray them directly from the spray bottle.
I very seldom tie my mares while working around them and, for sure, never tie them short. It looks like they become more cooperative when I give them a choice to stay with me or walk away from me.
Hope this will help you too.

Hello! 100 lessons completed 150 lessons completed

Excellent advice Bruno! I use the same approach when introding sprays. The horses are much more apt to accept the spray within no time.

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Interesting and common dilema.I use the advance and retreat with fly spray and spooky Appaloosa,plus a horse who does stand quiet for the spray.I hold him on loose line and stop when he stands still..He learned such a lot from this older wiser horse,it cut my work in half.Great that you want to escape from the rough ways of old,your horses will be so pleased and you willl enjoy them so much more too!

Kicki -- Sweden
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Great advice, Bruno!
I have found that my mare has always been more cooperative when deworming, getting shots or whatever, if I have kept her loose in her box rather than someone holding on to a rope.
As long as she feels the freedom to step away if she wants to, she relaxes a lot more.