May 27, 2014 at 7:00 am
My horse (retired racing Arabian) is terrified of clippers. He will tolerate his legs, muzzle, bridle path and throat, but would prefer to kill himself rather than have his ears done. He has some scars thought to be from going over backwards in the starting gate in his childhood, and was probably ear-twitched as well. We have been working on this for some months, and he will now allow me to pet his ears, brush them and even use a soppy sponge to wash, but as soon as he hears the clippers he panics (even when tranquilized which I will NEVER do again). I have even tried having the clippers running nearish to his stall, but it makes him very, very edgy. Anyone have any other suggestions than time and perseverance? I really don’t want him to be so afraid. I don’t care if his ears never get clipped, but I would like him to relax and be a happier horse.
It is never the horse's faultMay 27, 2014 at 12:59 pmIceBird5Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 5
I would suggest starting with the clippers off. See if you can hold the clippers in your hand when they are OFF and pet his ear at the same time. If he moves his head up keep them there, follow his movement the second he lowers his head or shows any sign of relaxing, walk away for a couple minutes. Once he gets ok with that, see how close you can get with the clippers ON (to his ears) before he starts showing worry (eyes white, head up, stiffness) start at that spot whether it be a foot away or a few inches away, and wait there until he shows any sign of relaxing. Once he does, turn them off and walk away for a minute. Then see if you can get them an inch closer to his ear than they were before and do the exact same thing, eventually if you are super patient you will get there. The key is to not push him to the point of panic but doing this in baby steps and do not stop until he relaxes at each step. Even if it seems like he will never relax, he will if you wait and do it in small enough steps. Good luck.May 27, 2014 at 1:07 pmIceBird5Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 5
I just re read your post and got a little confused, you said that once he hears the clippers he panics but you are able to clip him anyway everywhere else? If the sound alone worries him I would start even slower, try having them on until you see him relax. Once he relaxes turn them off. The key is to turn them off everytime he lowers his head or blinks or licks n chews. Slowly he will learn that relaxing is what makes them go
awayMay 27, 2014 at 3:25 pm
Yes, it is confusing. He can be clipped, but is always edgy even when some other horse across the barn is being clipped.
It is never the horse's faultMay 27, 2014 at 3:31 pm
Thank you. He doesn’t mind them when they are off, and I can even rub them almost everywhere on him (except the actual ears). When we first met, he would not even allow hoof dressing, any sort of spray or slime, or liniment in the stall without trying to climb out the window. I started wearing liniment as a perfume, and just patiently talked to him for ever about the other stuff, with which he is now fine. I have worked with a lot of racehorses = both active and retired – and none of them even batted an eye about having odd things done to them, so this has me puzzled. He was rescued from a slaughter lot, so little is known about what may or may not have happened to him in the past. He is very food motivated, and will even beg for treats by holding his head sideways, so I have used bribery for some things, regardless of what others may think of that method.
It is never the horse's fault
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