Whats wrong with her ears?
   

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Whats wrong with her ears?

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    07-06-2010, 07:42 PM
  #1
Weanling
Question Whats wrong with her ears?

We have a super sweet 26 year old QH named sunny. She is the best horse we have. We use her on new riders and for thereputic riding along with the horse show stuff that I do on her. She has one roblem though. She will not, under any circumstances, let you touch her ears. It's a trick to get a head stall on her without her flinching or jerking her head away. We have to use a twitch to shave her ears and we can't put swat in her ears to protect from gnats. We haven't done anything to make her ear shy and they can't be sore because she itches and rubs her head and ears on the other horses and on you like any other horse does. Anyone know what is causing this?
This is a pic of Sunny. This was taken early spring so she isn't normally this shaggy.
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File Type: jpg sunny.jpg (4.9 KB, 115 views)
     
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    07-06-2010, 08:21 PM
  #2
Showing
Being headshy is a learned behavior that can begin as something so small as her flinching just a tiny bit as she got pinched when she was having the bridle put on. Maybe the clippers pulled her hair one time or maybe she associates having her ears handled to being twitched. There is really no telling why she might have developed this fear but it is something that you can get her over. It would take a very long time and unless only 1 person handles her at all, then it is kindof a mute point unless you can get every single person doing the exact same thing.
     
    07-07-2010, 11:30 AM
  #3
Foal
(i don't know if this will be any help but..) I would just rub her from the shoulders and slowly up to her ears. If she jerks away, just do it again. Sooner or later she will get that it feels good to have her ears rubbed.
^^^
I did that with my head-shy horse, and it eventually worked
     
    07-07-2010, 03:53 PM
  #4
Foal
I had an arab gelding, when I was younger, who was born with sarcoids in his ears that the previous owners had tried to remove with a blow tourch. (No I'm not joking). For years I had to bridle him around his ears and work around his touchiness. He was a great youth horse, went swimming, packed trails, won ribbons, but wouldn't let you get near his ears. I figured after such a horrible experience for him it wasn't worth it for me to push him. (you should have seen me taking the cavason apart and buckleing it around his head for english classes) Quite amusing, but it kept him sane and happy.

Yes, try the regular desensitizing techniques, but your mare may have a tramatizing experience at one time, so keep in mind, if you can work around it, it might not be so bad for her to have one quirk. She seems, from your desciription, to be great otherwise. Try bridles that snap or buckle around so you don't have to put them over her head.
     
    07-07-2010, 03:59 PM
  #5
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Miami    
I had an arab gelding, when I was younger, who was born with sarcoids in his ears that the previous owners had tried to remove with a blow tourch. (No I'm not joking). For years I had to bridle him around his ears and work around his touchiness. He was a great youth horse, went swimming, packed trails, won ribbons, but wouldn't let you get near his ears. I figured after such a horrible experience for him it wasn't worth it for me to push him. (you should have seen me taking the cavason apart and buckleing it around his head for english classes) Quite amusing, but it kept him sane and happy.

Yes, try the regular desensitizing techniques, but your mare may have a tramatizing experience at one time, so keep in mind, if you can work around it, it might not be so bad for her to have one quirk. She seems, from your desciription, to be great otherwise. Try bridles that snap or buckle around so you don't have to put them over her head.
i know you werent talking to me, but
Pooooorr thing! :( I hate it when people do stupid thing to horses.
     
    07-07-2010, 04:44 PM
  #6
Yearling
^ I agree! That's just sick and cruel....

Your mare is without a doubt headshy. It's not necessarily anything that you did, but it may have been something that happened before you owned her.

The worst reaction to this is to try and force the issue. It will make the problem even worse.

What you should aim for is to let her realize that it's not such a bad thing to get her ears handled. Work around her face (not too near her ears yet) rubbing her and when she lets you do this without pulling her head up, give her a treat or reward of any sort. As soon as you can do this with no hassles, go to her neck and rub her gently, rewarding her when she stays calm.

As soon as she's fine with all of this, start rubbing her poll area VERY gently, again rewarding her when she accepts it. When that's going all good (remember that this will take alot of patience and time) move slowly to the base of her ears, working gently until you can touch her ears without her freaking out.

As I said, this will take ALOT of time, but in the end it's worth it. At the barn I'm currently at, there is a very sweet mare that used to be VERY headshy, but over time you can now put a halter on her and scratch her neck and even rub her face a little.
     
    07-08-2010, 07:58 AM
  #7
Green Broke
One of the lesson horses that my trainer has has really bad ear plack that hasn't gone away reagardless of what she does. Because of that he HATES having his ears touched. You have to take apart the bridle and put it back together on his head so that you don't touch his ears or he will freak out.

Have you checked her for ear plack? That could be causing her to not like having her ears touched.

Or it could just be a learned behavior. Have you tried sacking her head out?
     

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