How can I deter my horse from always urinating in the cross ties?
Wow. This is a pain in the rear. Some horses are habitual about where they like to urinate. In the crossties, in the arena, in a certain area in the paddock. They also tend to be habitual about when they urinate, after exercise, for example.
You can teach any horse to urinate "on command". This comes in quite handy, especially if you are at a show and you don't want your ride to be compromised. It also helps for those horses that habitually urinate in not so great places! Some horses love to urinate in the soft footing of an arena, but some arena footing systems don't benefit from horse urine.
You will need to be patient, consistent, and positive to teach your horse to urinate on command. It's fairly easy to do this - you only need to do two things.
- You will need to associate urination with a sound, such as a whistle. First, you have to catch your horse in the act. In the stall, paddock, or where ever. Try and whistle the entire time your horse is urinating.
- Then, you need to throw your horse a huge party. Lots of positive praise. Do this a lot. Lots of parties. Lots of patience.
After a while (depending on the horse, a few days to a few weeks), you will be able to whistle and your horse will urinate. So, if you have a class at a show, or your horse needs to urinate before you get into the cross ties, you have a tool. It helps to also practice this at home every day. A good time to do this is before you take him from his stall or his paddock for grooming and riding. He may even learn that you reaching for the halter is time to urinate!
Find surfaces, like grass and shavings, that your horse would normally urinate on to reinforce the training!
It may seem weird and horrible to train your horse to do this. I get that. But can you imagine exercising with a full bladder? YUCK. It also gives you the opportunity to learn what his normal urine looks like, therefore alerting you to any possible weirdness before things get serious. You can learn more about what normal horse urine looks like here! This also gives you the chance to teach him to urinate in one spot - great for the horse that likes to sleep in his urine spot. Or, you may have a run attached to his stall - so teaching him to urinate outside will save on bedding costs.
Even after you have your horse urinating on command, you must keep up the positive reward.