Saturday, May 5, 2012

Cold, Dark and Rainy

I haven't ridden as much these last few weeks.  Mostly due to other commitments and also the fact that the pony is in training right now so my trainer insists on riding her three days a week.  But it's also hard to get out to the barn some days.  Sure, the days are longer now, but we are in the transition phase of spring in the Pacific NW.  Which means we get a teaser day or two of gorgeousness and then a solid week or two of doom and gloom and 45 degrees and rainy.  It's dark and it's cold and even though I was riding six days a week back in January when it was REALLY dark and cold, somehow my tolerance has had it.  I'm tired of being cold.  I'm tired of wearing five hundred layers to the barn.  I'm tired of the mud.  I'm tired of my nose running while I ride from my spring allergies and from being cold and then getting warm.  I'm tired of not being able to teach my pony how to get bathed because it's too damn cold.

Okay, rant over.  Tomorrow is supposed to be drop dead gorgeous and my plans include a Sunday morning ride, followed by a bath for the princess.  She's not a super dirty horse.  Especially for a grey horse, she's quite clean.  But despite being tacked up in the wash rack regularly, she still loses her pony mind when you turn the water on.  We take it slow, we use warm water.  She whirls from side to side, not paying attention to her feet or to me.  She lifts her back legs, kicking out compulsively (not AT me but at the water).  I smack her, I growl, I push her over.  She poops nervously.  And this is is just to hose off her feet.  I have actually never washed her back feet, because the washrack is very enclosed and I don't want to be near a hoof if she lifts it and kicks out.

So, my goal for the next few months, while the weather is warm ( is Seattle so this is not a given) is to wash my horse as much as possible.  To get her where I can give her a full bath, including her head.  To show her that water won't hurt her.  I will know I have reached my goal when I can wash her and she's not kicking out and not stiff with anxiety.  I want to see her head drooping with her lower lip pushed out while I soap up her tail and wash her back legs.  She will be the cleanest grey horse the Pacific Northwest has ever seen.  Starting tomorrow.....


  1. Have you tried giving her treats when she's behaving herself in the wash rack (and behaving can be just standing there with the water running, not flipping out)? I used to ride a horse who hated the wash rack, but carrot pieces every few minutes when he was good really helped get him used to being in there and having a bath.

  2. I feel for mare hates baths and we have warm water, also. I feel accomplished because I can now walk her in to the wash area, turn her around, clip her in the cross ties (without her pushing thru me) and wash her. She still poops, dances around, and occasionaly lifts a back foot. I was told by another boarder that her 14 yr old mare is still like that.

    I have never tried treats, though, as Steph suggested. Couldn't hurt!

  3. Joy gets hosed off on a nearly daily basis (after every ride) and she still hates it, although will happily swim in the river, go figure. She will stand sorta quiet for it though meaning no more rearing and panicking. What helped was going super slow with the water (spraying slow stream at ground, then hoof, finally moving to leg) and doing it in the open so as not to trigger claustrophobia since she felt she could move away from it.

    good luck :)