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What to do with when the itchy interfears with training?? Suggestions??

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  • What to do with when the itchy interfears with training?? Suggestions??

    Ok, I know it is a strange headline, but here is the issue... I have a 4 yr old that has been undersaddle for a few months. She is very good until she gets a little sweaty then she starts shaking her head and get so distracted by the itchy feeling of the sweat under the bridle that she can not possibly focus on riding. She is so distracted she acts like she wants to throw herself on the ground and have a baby tantrum. The minute I get off she wants to roll or rub on the arena gate, jump standards, mounting block, front legs etc. She is the type that aggressively trys to rub her head on anything possible until you get the bridle off. She is a very "prissy" thin skinned girly girl, if you hose her off she is practically crawling out of her skin until she can throw herself down on the ground and roll. Is there any product out there that desensitizes skin hahaha? Any suggestions?

  • #2
    Move to Canada? Seriously, I think she will outgrow it; lots of youngsters are not used to the feel of sweat on them, when they have never been worked before. If you are in a warm climate, you could give her baths, letting her feel the water run on her....this could also possibly help her not feel so itchy.

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    • #3
      Try a Micklem bridle. It really helped my guy with this exact issue.

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      • #4
        Ignore and push her forward, she can wait until you are done to scratch.

        You can also try clipping her so she doesn't sweat so much when she works.
        http://weanieeventer.blogspot.com/

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        • #5
          I had to work through that with my eventer. I took the cavesson off so there was less on his head, and kept my schooling sessions short, and bit by bit increased the length of schooling sessions. Was hard keeping him from rubbing his head, but he gradually learned he could have his own scratch fest and roll after a ride, and learned to extend his patience. It's still there, but he doesn't get frantic anymore.

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          • #6
            You might also check to be sure the the crown piece is not too tight behind the ears, and that your saddle is not slipping forward covering the area of the back where the mane ends (which might also suggest that the tree of the saddle is too wide for this horse). Both of those areas are acupressure points. The one at the base of the neck is especially sensitive to the degree that hairs in this area should not be caught up when the mane is braided.

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            • #7
              I agree with pushing through and then when you are done, do not let her rub with the bridle in. Instead, make her wait until you're in the barn and take the bridle off first and rub her face with a brush. Get her to realize that feels even better and they often are happy to wait for that wonderful scratch after the ride.
              "And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling." - Capt Reynolds "Firefly"

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              • #8
                I tell my horses that 23 hours a day they can do what they want. The riding time is their work time. No rubbing then.

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                • #9
                  1. it could be that she's allergic to glycerine (I am, it makes me itch) if you use glycerine soap to clean your tack. Instead try a plain castile soap and oil with a good lanolin
                  2. Do clip her face nice and short. it'll help
                  3. she could be allergic to the metal of her bit. you could try a few different kinds.
                  4. at the end of the day, she's not *suffering* and she needs to learn that work means work. I don't particularly care for the burn I feel in my quads when doing wind sprints, but I push through it.
                  www.destinationconsensusequus.com
                  chaque pas est fait ensemble

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                  • #10
                    Ditto the Micklem bridle. My mustang used to be like this - he'd get so distracted by needing to rub his nose that he'd just stop and/or try to rub his face while trotting around. Since switching to the Micklem it hasn't been a problem...
                    "A horse's face always conveys clearly whether it is loved by its owner or simply used." - Anja Beran

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                    • #11
                      I agree to consider allergies and to reduce the amount of sweating in the first place. I wonder if some sort of sweat band on the crown and brow band would also help? Could horse be getting sweat in its eyes?

                      I remember going to try a horse and the owner was adament that the horse never scratch his head or rest a leg while in her presence...but she didn't have a problem pulling HIM up to scratch her own head! Itchy is hard to ignor.
                      Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

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                      • #12
                        I'm struggling a bit with this same issue with my youngster. He is much happier without a noseband. What is it about the Micklem bridle that seems to help?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by RiderInTheRain View Post
                          I'm struggling a bit with this same issue with my youngster. He is much happier without a noseband. What is it about the Micklem bridle that seems to help?
                          It is supposedly the placement of the noseband that doesn't put pressure on facial nerves: http://www.williammicklem.com/multib...insideout.html
                          "A horse's face always conveys clearly whether it is loved by its owner or simply used." - Anja Beran

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                          • #14
                            FYI - A correctly fitted cavesson doesn't cause problems.
                            "And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling." - Capt Reynolds "Firefly"

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                            • #15
                              I have an ottb doing the same thing, took the noseband off and he still does it. I know hes not goint to be frantic if he dosnt scratch but i dont see a difference besides him not fussing as much with his head? You can slowly intorduce a noseband again for shows and just have it very loose, he hates things being too tight, i also think he hates the feel of the leather on his nose or face all together. Fine with a halter though lol

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                              • #16
                                My Morgan did this, very distracted during riding and then downright rude on the ground. I did as others suggested and have a specific 'face itchy time' after all his work and all his tack is off. Because my horse can be rude if allowed, I make it all very specific and use a rub rag and ask that he bring his head around to the side for a vigorous rub with the rag, else he'll try to barge into you with his forehead the instant the bridle comes off.

                                Knowing that a vigorous and satisfying itch session is part of the 'routine' seems to give him the wherewithal to be patient until its time.
                                Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.

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                                • #17
                                  My Morgan did this, very distracted during riding and then downright rude on the ground. I did as others suggested and have a specific 'face itchy time' after all his work and all his tack is off. Because my horse can be rude if allowed, I make it all very specific and use a rub rag and ask that he bring his head around to the side for a vigorous rub with the rag, else he'll try to barge into you with his forehead the instant the bridle comes off.

                                  Knowing that a vigorous and satisfying itch session is part of the 'routine' seems to give him the wherewithal to be patient until its time. Having the the extras like the rag and me standing by his shoulder in 'face rubbing position' keeps him mostly mannerly.
                                  Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    buck22, interestingly, my pushy itchy horse is a Morgan too! We've worked through the rudeness on the ground, although most of the other boarders at my barn think I'm mean for not allowing him to rub his head on me. I do like the suggestion to have specific rub rag. Right now getting "face itches" happens only after work, after the tack has been removed and feet picked, but I think having a special rub rag might help make it an even more specific situation for him.

                                    However, the ground work hasn't quite translated to the under saddle work yet. He is fine until he gets a little sweaty - that is why I think removing the noseband has helped a bit, it is just one less piece of leather for him to get sweaty under.

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