Desensitizing my horse's ears

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Desensitizing my horse's ears

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    04-01-2011, 06:19 AM
Desensitizing my horse's ears

I bought an 8 year old mare but she doesn't like me touching her ears. If I try to put the halter or anything over her ears she starts pulling away and jumping up. I have no idea what her previous owner did to her but she doesn't want you to touch her ears. Its very frustrating as every time I want to saddle her up it takes me half an hour to get the bridle over her head. Please help!!!
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    04-01-2011, 08:19 AM
Welcome to the forum!

I have a similar problem with my current mare (she's 11 years old and spent the last 6 years with her last owner - he claims she came with that problem). It simply takes time and patients. I began by rubbing the top of her poll and her forehead then slowly touching the base of her ears but just for an instant and before she could react. Slowly, over time, I touched her ears a little more until she came to realize that I wasn't going to hurt her.

Two things that I did before beginning were to have my vet check to see if there was a physical problem (such as mites) and secondly was to use a rope halter that didn't have to pass over her ears when putting on.

As for the bridle, that just took time. I did it slowly and often, even if I wasn't going to ride. I would bridle her before feeding and after feeding, I would put it on and take it off several times then let her munch her grain or hay.

There is no magic to it and it doesn't happen in a day or so. It just takes time and patients. It's been 4 months with my mare and she is many times better but I still "practice" it with her.
    04-01-2011, 08:55 AM
Thank you. I will get a halter rope and start with rubbing her ears more ofter.
    04-01-2011, 03:22 PM
And make sure there is not a reason for not wanting them touched such as aural plaques

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