05-19-2012, 08:10 AM
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I saw you already made your decision, if your horse goes well in a sidepull, that would be perfect (: If not, here's another option for you to try: a Nurtural bitless bridle. They work by pulling on the nose and putting pressure on the cheek strap on the opposite side, only this bridle also has a securing Circle-X between the two cheek straps which keeps them from interfering with each other. The rubber layer under the noseband keeps it from sliding. (If you get it, get the leather one, and the release is much better.)
My horse sounds a lot like yours, and I mean a LOT. In a bit, even just a regular snaffle, eggbutt or loose, he keeps obsessively chewing it and 'nodding', until you pick up the reins, but even then he won't relax in it. In my Nurtural at least he won't get tensed or fight me just because of the bridle. He also reacts the same when walking away from the barn alone - stopping, trying to turn around fast and sometimes even trying to bolt. In a bit it was impossible to reason with him when he got like this because he would react so violently to it, in my bitless and after a lot of work on trust in me and his own confidence, yesterday we made a smooth round through the neighbourhood without him stopping or trying to turn even once. Even when he bolted once because we got frustrated with each other and there were scary things around (some work going on with the sidewalk), I got him to stop after about 50 meters without a lot of fuss. If I'd guess, I'd also say your horse hates flying plastic, both tarps and plastic bags, and this is exactly what I've been using to increase my own horse's confidence. First I show him that the tarp is okay and lead him over it a few times until he'll follow me without doubt, then I let him loose, spread the tarp out next to the fence and ask him to walk over it by himself, and eventually trot and canter. This has worked great to show my horse that he doesn't need anyone (me or another horse) to 'hold his hand' when something is scary. To train something like this with your horse might just help his reluctance to leave the barn alone.