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Horse Is Afraid Of Fly Spray


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#1 LadyBug7

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 12:38 PM

Hello, my horse is afraid of fly spray in a spray bottle. He was fine with it then the person I boarded with sprayed him with the aroseal spelling??? fly spray and ever since he freaks when I spray him. I have tried showing him that is okay by spraying the other horses, but when I get the bottle around him he freaks. I show him the bottle, spray the bottle near him. When I do spray him with it he jumps and gets terrified. He was fine with the fly spray but not he is petrified. I now use Wipe on him, but again is it bad to pacify him, I don't know. Thanks for any help.
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#2 barrelracer813

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 01:02 PM

here is what i did for my filly . i would show her the bottle and make a noise like what the spray would sound like and rub the bottle all over her body until she relaxed and take it away. i would do this off and on when she wasnt expecting it and i would fly spray her everyday and now she stands quite for it, it takes some horses longer to get use to it. i hope this helps someand makes sense.

#3 Angie!

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 01:44 PM

My step dad's mare was terrified of the sprayer

I did pretty much what Barrelracer said, when they relax back off a bit. Also, keep consistant. Move around him like you normally would, don't hold him strangely or abnormaly and relax your body language. I find that with his horse if I try to verbally comfort her or hold her like I think she's going to freak out she gets a thousand times more nervous because she expects something to be scary then.

Act like its not scary and eventually he'll calm down :>

#4 ranchhorses

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 02:36 PM

put him in a spot where he can move around you, a round pen or arena where the ground is good and there are no obstacles.

get a spray bottle full of water so your not wasting your fly spray.

first start by spraying the air around him, if he moves just let him, dont encourage him to move and dont encourage him to stop, just spray spray spray until he stops on his own, when he stops keep spraying the air around him until he shows you a relaxing movement IE- licking his lips cocking his back leg or lowering his head.
As soon as he does this stop spraying. Then do the other side of his body, again just the air around him let him wear himself out, repeat these steps several times on each side, each time he should stop moving quicker and quicker once he gets used to this then repeat the steps on both sides of the horses but begin to spray on him, when he moves just let him making sure he is running around you vrs him running away from you.

#5 historyrider

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 02:58 PM

Agreed. This is a relatively easy fix LB. I would use water in the spray bottle to save the real stuff but just start pumping and spraying the air around him while he is in hand on a line, not tied. Let him move and be silly but just follow along with passive body language and keep spraying. When he stands still and relaxes, spray for 15 more seconds and quit. Now praise him and rub him for the correct response. Start again. Work on this until you can spray right next to him and you get the same calm response. Next go to the top line and just spray on his back from withers to tail. You want to do this long enough and steady enough that he gets completely desensitized to the bottle, the sound and the feel of the spray. Once he can handle his back you can start to move the spray all over. Don't do the legs first. Horse's are generally extra sensitive about new things touching their vital legs yet many folks try there first. If the water is clean (free of real fly spray) spray around and on his head as well. Get this lesson fully understood in one session and it's more than likely done for good as long as you continue to use the spray bottle regularly.

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ETA: Ranchhorse and I were working on this at the same time it seems.

Edited by historyrider, 18 May 2009 - 03:00 PM.


#6 horsewise

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 04:20 PM

QUOTE (historyrider @ May 18 2009, 02:58 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Agreed. This is a relatively easy fix LB. I would use water in the spray bottle to save the real stuff but just start pumping and spraying the air around him while he is in hand on a line, not tied. Let him move and be silly but just follow along with passive body language and keep spraying. When he stands still and relaxes, spray for 15 more seconds and quit. Now praise him and rub him for the correct response. Start again. Work on this until you can spray right next to him and you get the same calm response. Next go to the top line and just spray on his back from withers to tail. You want to do this long enough and steady enough that he gets completely desensitized to the bottle, the sound and the feel of the spray. Once he can handle his back you can start to move the spray all over. Don't do the legs first. Horse's are generally extra sensitive about new things touching their vital legs yet many folks try there first. If the water is clean (free of real fly spray) spray around and on his head as well. Get this lesson fully understood in one session and it's more than likely done for good as long as you continue to use the spray bottle regularly.

William (historyrider)

ETA: Ranchhorse and I were working on this at the same time it seems.


I do it almost the same as "historyrider"....except when the horse stands still or even "TRIES" to stand still...ie babgives, I stop & walk a few feet away...PRESSURE ON....PRESSURE OFF.

Give the horse a chance to soak it all in....reward him with a rub walk away & start the process all over. WALK AWAY (look for licking & chewing or just like 30 seconds) is a big part of the way I do....gives the horse a chance to mull (soak) it in.

In other words, your letting the horse know he won't have to live with this the rest of his life...just accept a few seconds...then the seconds get longer.

Be CALM when your doing this too. HTTY smilie.gif

Edited by horsewise, 18 May 2009 - 04:23 PM.

[size=3]Avoidance, Resistance, Tolerance, Acceptance, Consistency, Partnership...where are you with these steps when training your horse?

#7 Smilie

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 04:22 PM

agreed with Ranch and Historyrider
Horses don't really learn by watching other horses, or starting one under saddle would be a lot easier!
They will be calmer around a calm horse and excited around a horse that is on the muscle, but that is mood adaptation, not the actual lesson in hand
I don't ***** foot around, even the first time, when it comes to applying fly spray. I hold the horse, instead of having him tied, as I don't want to encourage halter pulling.
Doesn't take very long for a horse to accept that the entire process is harmless and moving around useless.
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#8 Debi Z

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 06:10 PM

QUOTE (horsewise @ May 18 2009, 05:20 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I do it almost the same as "historyrider"....except when the horse stands still or even "TRIES" to stand still...ie babgives, I stop & walk a few feet away...PRESSURE ON....PRESSURE OFF.

Give the horse a chance to soak it all in....reward him with a rub walk away & start the process all over. WALK AWAY (look for licking & chewing or just like 30 seconds) is a big part of the way I do....gives the horse a chance to mull (soak) it in.



I do the same thing. And, don't start again until the horse stops licking and chewing.
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#9 quarterflash

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Posted 18 May 2009 - 07:32 PM

I start a horse who's not shown any pathological fear regarding his legs from the shoulder to the ground with bathing and fly spraying.

Those are the same legs that walk through mud puddles, cross creeks, get swished by brush and downed limbs and twigs. Horse's know about things touching their legs. If they've been handled at all, they know a lot about having their legs handled, sacked, bandaged, held, etc.

I think the main concept to remember here is just push the envelope slowly with one who's panicky about it for some reason. And small steps you are able to accomplish on one side? Do immediately on the other.

Depending on the intensity of the horse's panic to start with ... I may get that first 'level' of 'OK, she's standing right there spraying and stuff that isn't me and I'm not dead yet' and quit for the day.

Re~approach is a concept I'm not all that fond of because some horses read it as 'making that human move their feet'.

grin.gif There's a certain kind of bronc that looks at that and sort of mentally runs with it, while there are other, truly fearful and timid critters who LOVE to see our tail lights and NEED the invasiveness of 're~approach' to get over their fears.

It all just gets back to reading the personality of the horse you're dealing with.

To the OP? "Pick your battles" is a phrase you may want to meditate on. This is the horse who was popping up with you in the arena earlier this year or is Old Timer's eating on me again and that was somebody else?

If this is that horse ... you'd have to be prepared to say he's a little fragile and really evaluate how you two are 'meeting'. If you're making him nervous? Figure out how and why. You can't communicate with a horse until you can control your own emotions and thought processes. If he seems to be consistantly 'going backwards' in his training? Maybe this isn't the pony for you.

Hey! I fell in love with a gorgeous Magnolia Bar gelding once who was a little fragile, but I meant to have him cause I just KNEW I could restore his confidence.

As it turns out? He was SO terrified of ME that I could not even lead him at the trader's place. He just locked up and cowered in fear no matter what I did.

Could not even LEAD him.

Really bad fits exist and it's just simple chemistry. No blame ~ no shame, just chemistry.


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#10 JumperBee83

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Posted 22 May 2009 - 03:07 AM

qf thats so sad about that gelding being so scared of you! I'm working on this with Foster atm as well. I agree with working on it in hand instead of tied as that can create a pulling problem. Foster is getting better. He dose still get nervous but after a few sprays he relaxes. Now out project is the big scary horse eating tarps! Since for trail classes sometimes you have to walk over tarps. We got two feet on the tarp today! Tryed walking over the little bridge thing in hand he followed me no trouble but hes scared to death of the tarp lol

#11 WarPony

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Posted 22 May 2009 - 04:23 AM

QUOTE (Debi Z @ May 18 2009, 07:10 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I do the same thing. And, don't start again until the horse stops licking and chewing.


so do I. My mini mare was a total freak about fly spray and my cob was a bit of a prat about it too. They still glare at me but they don't make idiots of themselves over it any more. I use the "make a sound like a spray bottle" method to start, then use the spray bottle of water and release pressure at the first sign of good behaviour then gradually increase the amount of time before I give that release. And I let them move around me during the process so they don't feel trapped and panic. It's never taken me more than one or two sessions with my horses to get them over this.

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#12 Mudder

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Posted 22 May 2009 - 06:26 PM

If you pick a really hot day and just spray water, they will like getting cooled off. I do the same as History says. I do it in the round pen, and I keep the nose tipped toward me, to encourage him to go in a circle. If he goes backwards, I follow, I don't try to stop them from moving. When they do stop, and begin to lick and chew, then I let them. Then start again. I did the same thing to get them used to the garden hose spraying them. I used the gentlest spray first, then slowly increased the pressure of the spray.
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#13 LadyBug7

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Posted 23 May 2009 - 04:42 PM

Thank you for all the help, Mudder I like your avatar so true.
Savannah Rain. 17 year old Paint mare.


People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.

If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.

If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.

The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.

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