Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Horse Eating Wash Rack

Tessa does not like the wash rack.  For a princess, she sure hates getting cleaned.  I have avoided even pushing the issue, but she has a mild case of scratches on one front leg and I wanted to hose it off clean and get a look at it.  So after our ride, when she was tired and sweaty, I put her in the wash rack.  She danced around a bit but settled down pretty nicely.  I ended up giving her an almost full bath.  I didn't scrub her hindquarters, but I washed her front feet and sort of washed her back feet.  I also did her girth area, mane and tail.  The only challenge we had was when she saw something scary (twice) and she decided to push me into the wall.  Her little brain turned off and she pushed into me.  The more I pushed back, the more she pushed into me.  Like a nervous kid looking for it's mommy.

I gave her a shove and an elbow and finally a kick with my boot.  She moved over, but her attention was still on the outside and what was going on.

So, for those of you who do groundwork and believe that the key to attention is to get the feet moving, what do you do when you're in an enclosed space (wash rack, trailer, etc.) and your horse is cross tied?  How do you regain their attention and get their mind back if, physically, it's not possible for their feet to move much?  When she ran over me, I just ended up needing to make myself scarier and bigger than what was on the outside.  I didn't do the worst job, but I don't think I got my message across.  Mainly because I'm afraid of disciplining horses who are tied.  I'm always afraid that if I get after them and they pull back, I will have created a horse who pulls back.  And I definitely don't want that!

So, how do you help your horse calm down when movement isn't the best option?


  1. I think Lucas and Tessa are twins separated at birth. Lucas has been a show horse for 8 years and is still scared of the bubbles (they actually eat horses you know!!) I don't cross tie in the wash bay and only tie him where I know he can't break a rope (he pulls back in the wash bay on a regular basis) I always keep a chain lead over his nose and if he gets to the point where he starts zoning out I have put the chain over his gum for 2 minutes until he comes back to earth. Not the nicest thing to do, but better than either of us getting hurt.

  2. Our crossties are open at both ends so G cannot handle that mentally he thinks something with attack him is he is not on constant watch. He pushed his hind end into one of the walls and it is a fight to get him to move it and anything behind him will cause him to swish his tail and lift a leg threateningly. G knows that if i am carrying a whip it means business it means that he needs to listen to me or he will get a tap with the whip. So i just keep it close by when he starts acting out i will give him a tap to get his attention back. I tried getting him to walk forward then back up in the cross ties but that makes him more panicky