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how to bridle a horse that simply refuses one

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  • Original Poster

    #21
    It's not the bit, not the mouth! very cool info about the bridle-less bit, but that's not the issue here. and she did not get clunked with the bit when being un-bridled since I haven't been able to get it on yet. But you can believe, once it's on, it will be staying on for a WHILE

    it's the ears/poll. except it's not the ears or poll, since I can handle them easily when grooming or any other time that doesn't involve a bridle.


    Silver2, could you please stop by and help? I'm in Oregon.

    Comment


    • #22
      lieslot,,just how does that bit without a headstall stay on?

      Comment


      • #23
        is it a shanked bit or snaffle?
        Does the headstall have a brow band (English? Western?)

        I use a western training bridle, I've removed the browband and throatlatch. The cheek pieces have snaps on them. I unsnap one side of the bit and drape the headstall around the NECK of the horse... I bring the bit into his mouth. Then, I slowly raise the headstall up behind his ears (in this case, the horse has been EARRED and you CANNOT touch his ears or just behind them.) slowly and gently. When it's nearly in place, I snap onto the bit.

        http://www.sackettridge.com/training.html

        or, I leave the bit attached and unbuckle the cheekpiece nearest to you. my training bridle has 2 buckles .. one at each cheek piece.

        Or. get a mule bridle... (scroll to the bottom images)
        http://crestridgesaddlery.com/accessoriesghb.shtml

        : )

        Comment


        • #24
          Originally posted by suz
          lieslot,,just how does that bit without a headstall stay on?
          It stays on because it's tightened behind the horse's chin in the same place you'd close a flash for example.

          It does stay on I tried on my guy. But he didn't like it all that much.
          But as you could see in the picture that showjumper had no problems going round a course in it without a bridle.

          Comment


          • #25
            Originally posted by feisomeday View Post
            this horse has not been ridden yet. and she just had her teeth done 2 weeks ago.
            So this is a green horse? THAT'S a rather large and important piece of information!!!!!!!!

            How old is the horse? What kind of training background are we dealing with?

            What you DON'T want to do at this point is shift to a "leather and iron" solution to solve what is a training and/or behavioral issue. Doing so will leave a MASSIVE hole in the horse's training and that will likely come back to "bite" you later on.

            You might want to start by reviewing your proceedure for bridling the horse. How do you do it? Maybe it's your techinique, vice any physical or equipment issue, that needs to be addressed. Note that this is not intended as a "flame" or "slam." The hard truth is that most equine behavioral issues begin with a human doing something that annoys the horse and triggers a "resistance." Before you spend a lot of money and time with complex solutions, see if a simple one will work.

            Assuming that you're not triggering the resistance and assuming that there are no physical issues then you can try a training the horse to accept the bridle. You've had at least three good suggestions on training approaches to solving the problem. If for any reason you feel that you're "out of your depth" then get some professional help. A few hours with a good trainer is all that this should take.

            Good luck with your project.

            G.
            Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

            Comment


            • #26
              I've had to deal with an OTTB with all sorts of issues, including ear phobia and poll pain, who refused to let me bridle him. If you were tall enough, you'd have a fight but you could win on size alone. However, I am short and he is very smart and quick, clever and, on occasion, nasty, so I had to figure out another way.

              I ended up standing on his left, facing forward and very close to him. I'd start by grabbing his nose with my right hand, with my arm circled below his chin. Ignored any head shaking or backing up or fighting, just kept my hand on the nose, bringing it back down when I could. I'd be holding the bridle by the cheek pieces in my left hand and then I'd bring it up, resting it on his nose while still holding his nose with my right hand. Following whatever wild head movements were going on, I'd stick whatever fingers I could in his mouth and eventually get the bit in, however I could. Sometimes this meant waiting minutes. Sometimes it meant waiting until he went to take a bite out of me. Once the bit was in, quickly but in one smooth movement, I'd lift the crownpiece over the left ear. Then, walking calmly but swiftly to his other side, I'd quickly lift the crown over the right ear. Then I'd walk back to the other side and attach everything.

              It's very odd, I'll admit it, and it took me a very long time to come up with it but for some reason, it worked with this horse when nothing else did. I've wondered if seeing me on the other side calmed down his anxiety about me hurting his ear. Unless I was ready for some real shenanigans, he got bridled in the wash rack or his stall.

              Now, I'm not sure you'd want to train a young horse this way, but maybe there's something in here you can use!
              The aids are the legs, the hands, the weight of the rider, the whip, the caress, the voice and the use of extraneous circumstances. ~ General Decarpentry
              www.reflectionsonriding.com

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #27
                did you do this every day and he never got easier? did he ever rear or back away from you? I'm surprised you could get a bridle on like this if you are short & horse was so tall. did you ever figure out the problem?

                this week, we are just fussing with the mare's head,ears and poll: touching and rubbing and doing the best to desensitize her. she's happy with that. until I try to bridle her

                Comment


                • #28
                  Puika needs eactly the same technique as Easyrider just described. I had worked out that to do it in stable takes 30 seconds, outside - we had nearly an hour as a record.

                  It is getting a bit easier now, as bridle now is not the only game of the day he is having, but still. Puika is not against it, not at all, he just likes to play. When he decides that game is over, he just lets his head down and - done in few seconds.

                  Maybe your horse is the same problem - it is the only gane that is awailable during the day.
                  ** I LOVE PUIKA FAN CLUB*** member

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    My SWB mares babies were always funny about halters, as was my SWB mare before I bought her. Turns out they are "sensitive" around the eyes - and don't like the bridle coming over the eye.

                    So when I started haltering her babies (as I did with her) I'd buckle the top of the halter behind her ears when putting it on. To take it off - at first I'd unbuckle it behind her ears.

                    Once that was fine I'd slip it over her ears while giving her a cookie - so she associated treat with leather over the ears.

                    Once all were fine with this I'd slip the halter over her ears for putting it on and off. By that time when it came to bridles I never had any problems.

                    Be sure you go slow, make horse comfortable every step of the way, encourage them to bring their head down via cookies and soft scritches on the neck while speaking very softly - Good girl,...
                    Now in Kentucky

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      Originally posted by feisomeday View Post
                      did you do this every day and he never got easier? did he ever rear or back away from you? did you ever figure out the problem?
                      That WAS the easier. It took three years to get there. He was bridled, whether it was an attempt by me or someone taller, five to six days a week.

                      Things started to get better after about two years, when I got a chiropractor who adjusted what she called his “skull plates,” which were askew. If you raised his forelock, one side of his poll was about an inch higher than the other. She thought he might have had a headache most of his life (he was nine then).

                      He backed away from me constantly. That’s why we worked on it in a wash stall or the stall itself. He’d lunge at me with pinned ears and bared teeth, try to knock me down, barge into me. He never tried to rear (while bridling, that is). He’d constantly throw his head around or put it way up in the air, alternately grabbing any part of the bridle (or me) to put in his mouth. That horse taught me how to be quick.

                      There were days when I’d work on it for four hours until I finally threw the bridle against the wall or walked away sobbing. That’s when he’d let out a sigh of contentment. Eventually, he taught me not to take things personally.

                      I believe the problem started with poll pain and fear of his ears being touched. Add boredom and ulcer pain, a playful nature and the proven ability to successfully frighten people. Throw in complete lack of trust in humans.

                      The bridling also got easier when I started to play games with him, the way AnnaCrew talks about. We’d play catch and tug of war with a towel and free lunging dancing and that made bridling time less desperate. Getting his ulcers under control helped.

                      The best we ever got was to follow my peculiar method without him shaking his head but a few inches from side to side, but that was never a reliable expectation.

                      I'm wondering: Have you tried to stroke her while touching her with the bridle, as much as she can tolerate, and build slowly on that? Or stroke while trying to bridle?

                      Please let us know how things go!
                      The aids are the legs, the hands, the weight of the rider, the whip, the caress, the voice and the use of extraneous circumstances. ~ General Decarpentry
                      www.reflectionsonriding.com

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        The bribery route works for me also. Wood is 16h3" and I am short. He didn't resist bridling so much as he was just too tall for me to bridle. I would hold the bridle in my right hand and the treat in my left below the bit and caveson and very low. He had to actually take the bit before he got the treat. Next he had to take the bit and wait form me to slide the headstall over his ears. To this day he puts his head down for bridling. I still occasionally give him a treat for it, but not every time.

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          Try putting molasses on the bit. Messy but it might work.

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            Originally posted by Woodsperson View Post
                            The bribery route works for me also. Wood is 16h3" and I am short. He didn't resist bridling so much as he was just too tall for me to bridle. I would hold the bridle in my right hand and the treat in my left below the bit and caveson and very low. He had to actually take the bit before he got the treat. Next he had to take the bit and wait form me to slide the headstall over his ears. To this day he puts his head down for bridling. I still occasionally give him a treat for it, but not every time.
                            Yes the Down trick really helps. I snap and say "Down" while holding a treat. Then I would take the headstall, without the bit, and put it on her hears. I had her put her head down again, give her the treat, then take it off. I'd practice every day. She's pretty good about putting her head down now. But our problem was mainly the bit.

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #34
                              once again, it's not the bit. she takes the bit, no problem.

                              it's what happens (should happen) next. getting the rest of the bridle on.

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                I recently started riding a horse who is not a bit head shy but who is extremely resistant to taking the bit in his mouth. Ear/face contact doesn't bother him at all - it's the mouth. He's had several dentists out and no one has found a problem.

                                His trainer bridles him with a treat, which he readily accepts (along with the bit). He's very mouthy, though, and I'm not crazy about handfeeding mouthy horses.

                                He has been ridden by some unbalanced beginners in the past and I think he has some fear issues (he throws his head to evade bit contact when he loses his balance or gets too forward, leading me to believe he's been caught in the mouth more than a few times).

                                I have been planning to spend some hours working on bridling without tacking up to ride, with the approach of forcing him to take it through sheer persistance (and a mounting block), THEN rewarding with a treat, removing the bridle, and trying again.

                                Would you recommend a different approach for a horse with this history?
                                My ears hear a symphony of two mules, trains, and rain. The best is always yet to come, that's what they explained to me. —Bob Dylan

                                Fenway Bartholomule ♥ Arrietty G. Teaspoon Brays Of Our Lives

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  Just a quick thought.
                                  I had a mare boarding here that you could not bridle. Vet checked teeth, said it was not the problem. Horse was eventually sold, new vet found wolf teeth. Maybe they are coming in but vet can't feel them yet?
                                  www.ncsporthorse.com

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    Originally posted by feisomeday View Post
                                    this horse has not been ridden yet. and she just had her teeth done 2 weeks ago.

                                    good training ideas all. thank you. I will try them.

                                    Not particularly an NH person - for the most party pretty "traditional", but has this horse been flagged? Don't think of that as particularly a solution to bridling problems, but a horse that's used to having those plastic bags on the end of a whip swished around and onto it's head may learn to be tolerant of a lot of things, including bridling.

                                    My youngster was a little difficult, even though he tolerated ear handling and the like with no problems. I struggled for a while, and eventually solved the problem by:

                                    (a) using carrots to teach him to lower his head from pressure. I guess a lot of NH guys do this without the reward - release of the pressure being considered reward enough, but I used the carrots for streching exercises so I figured it would help for this too. Then I...
                                    (b) loosened the cheekpieces of the bridle to where they were very loose and I didn't have to fuss with his ears at all - just slide the whole crown piece over them then shorten the cheek pieces back up. Since you have taken the bridle apart and/tried western headstall and that hasn't worked, don't know that this would work for you.

                                    And of course, did this over and over again, slowly and patiently....

                                    Comment


                                    • #38
                                      Originally posted by didgery View Post
                                      I recently started riding a horse who is not a bit head shy but who is extremely resistant to taking the bit in his mouth. Ear/face contact doesn't bother him at all - it's the mouth. He's had several dentists out and no one has found a problem.

                                      His trainer bridles him with a treat, which he readily accepts (along with the bit). He's very mouthy, though, and I'm not crazy about handfeeding mouthy horses.

                                      He has been ridden by some unbalanced beginners in the past and I think he has some fear issues (he throws his head to evade bit contact when he loses his balance or gets too forward, leading me to believe he's been caught in the mouth more than a few times).

                                      I have been planning to spend some hours working on bridling without tacking up to ride, with the approach of forcing him to take it through sheer persistance (and a mounting block), THEN rewarding with a treat, removing the bridle, and trying again.

                                      Would you recommend a different approach for a horse with this history?
                                      I knew I recognized this thread -- it's from Spring! Feisomeday -- it would be great to get an update on how things are going!

                                      Didgery, your horse sounds a lot like mine, before we discovered he had TMJ issues. It's worth a check.
                                      "Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." - Confucious
                                      <>< I.I.

                                      Comment


                                      • #39
                                        I took the bit off so that I could put the crown over his ears while being very careful not to touch them or his eyes or poll. Take the cavesson off if you need to as well. Make it simple and straightforward; don't try to do too much at once. Since your horse takes the bit fine, just working on just the crown piece may simplify it for her, and you know that no extra weight is pulling on her mouth or hitting her face. This sounds obvious, but also make sure you're praising her when she's acting correctly.

                                        Add the cavesson next, and build up to putting the whole thing on at once. Check your own expectations as well. If you are counting on her to act up, be assured that she will.

                                        Does she take a halter okay?

                                        Comment


                                        • #40
                                          I had a mare that did the exact same thing, only she was hit or miss with it. She'd take the bridle like and angel for weeks, then one day... backing and rearing to get away from it. Usually a treat under the bit did the trick, then she'd be an angel for weeks again. She had a lot of 'head restraint' issues, in general, including rearing if there was someone on her back and someone on the ground took her head for any reason.

                                          You've had a lot of good suggestions here, but she may just be one of those mares that has some resistance issues, and the only way to deal with them is lots of positive reinforcement. If you pick a fight with them, they won't back down, and one or both of you will get hurt.

                                          Good luck.
                                          Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
                                          Witherun Farm
                                          http://witherun-farm.blogspot.com/

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