I could have discussed this in my previous post but it felt like it needed it's own post. I have no photos of this so I will include random photos to break up the wall of text. Also, you will have to believe me.
|I don't know if you can see the streaks of red on her but it's not blood. |
She's been rolling in the wild strawberries- so now we call her
'Strawberry Shortcake.' Stacie called her my 'scratch and sniff horse'
At Stacie's barn they have a lovely wash stall. Not that I have photos of it- you will just have to believe me. It's large, has a rubber mat over the drain and and has hot & cold running water. Of course that it is lovely is just my perspective.
Carmen views it as an abattoir. I know she's not alone in that. It's interesting to me that horses who are stalled and cross tie in aisles view the wash stall as the place of certain death.
In our past visits getting her used to the wash stall has not been a priority for me. But it's summer and hot and this seemed like a good time to work on it. My learning over the years has really changed how I target this sort of thing. In the past (many years ago) my approach would have been to solve it in a single session and lots of pressure. But when you know better you do better. I have learned that stopping at a small success leads to gains much faster and fewer holes that need to be fixed.
After our ride I untacked Carmen and then went over to the wash stall. Her initial response was (not surprisingly) nope, nope, hell no.
I just stood there, if she pulled back I kept up pressure on the rope halter and released as soon as she gave even a hint of forward. The key is to time the release at the 'forward' and not the back. During the release I'd let her relax and then gently ask for a bit forward. Clearly it wasn't simple or straightforward. She would come forward, relax, go back, try to go sideways, try to drag me. Through it all I was super calm and not worried or rushed.
Finally, when we had one hoof in the stall I took her away and we went outside so I could sponge her down.
After our ride we tried again. Paula recommended using carrots. Which is not a bad idea, although I want her in because it's okay not because of the carrot because it might leave a hole. But it did help consolidate the idea of a positive experience.
There was much less flailing and she came in half-way and totally relaxed. So I left it at that.
|Ripley: what do you mean this is a horse trough? |
I thought it was my swimming pool
I asked Karen to hold her and I used a bucket and sponge to wash her down. I didn't think that she was quite ready for the hose. She stood there perfectly relaxed and enjoyed talking to Karen while I gave her a wash.
I was thrilled at how well we worked through this ask. It really is not different than the other work I've been doing with the obstacles and other things. Stopping after a short session with a small success has been working well for us. And I don't think that we're unique. Sometimes I don't stop right away but go away from that ask and do something else, returning to this later. For a horse like Carmen who hates drill work with a passion she responds well to this.
Sometimes I feel like I'm making it up.
But that is okay, because I'm pretty good at being able to evaluate the data and change as needed. And Carmen is really good at giving me feedback as to my performance.
|Incorrect. Try again.|
YOU CAN'T WASH ME IN THAT DARK PLACE. THAT MUST BE ACID YOU WANT TO TOUCH ME WITH. NO! -Carmen, probablyReplyDelete
I like that reminder of "when you know better, you do better". I'm glad you were able to work on the wash stall of death at a slow pace and that Carmen was able to overcome her concern by the third session! 😁ReplyDelete
It's a good reminder- otherwise I would hate myself for all of my past mistakes.Delete
oh Carmen... haha... Isabel was *exactly* the same lol, after one-too-many embarrassing fiascos in the fancy pants wash stall at the dressage barn where we took lessons, i honestly just gave up LOL. for real tho, i think we need a "sad mare diaries" bog series for poor suffering Carmen hahaReplyDelete
lol I am imagining the shenanigans!Delete
Beautiful! Ahhh those sensitive andis demand we listen to them! 🥰ReplyDelete
We also have a murder stall for a wash rack. Cisco always has to let me know how risky it is. I don't think it's the hosing off part - if I do him outside on the cement in front of the barn he pretty well ground ties. The stall has solid walls with only the open doorway (regular stall sized door) and a small window. For him I think it's mostly the closed-in aspect of the stall.ReplyDelete
Every once in a while he walks right in and I think we're over it. Nope. We're never over it.
It's funny- because it's literally bigger than her stall at home. But I am sure that it smells funny and is more echoic than a stall.Delete
That method works very well for teaching young horses to trailer load too. Reward the try, and don't expect perfection on the first session.ReplyDelete
You are gaining Carmen's trust.
Yes it does. I have also seen the force to get a horse to load.Delete
Poor Carmen. Being forced into such a dangerous area! Lol! Nice work taking it slow and steady!ReplyDelete
The better she does the more demands I have. :)Delete
I had the same problem with Rosie. It just take time and little successes as you say. One hoof at a time. Now she's a star and loves to be washed inside or outside. So it's not the hose. I got the feeling it was the drain she didn't like.ReplyDelete
Anyway, now Carmen can look forward to lots of spa days in the bath! Tell her it's just the thing these days for all the in vogue horses ;)
She does like to be fashionable.Delete
That’s always a good plan, reward the small give, and it becomes bigger. Any well trained horse had to go through the same steps to get there. Getting that sense of feel and appropriate release is always a creative process.ReplyDelete
It definitely is thatDelete
Dante would probably also find that wash rack to be scary lolReplyDelete