How to get a halter on a head-shy horse?

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How to get a halter on a head-shy horse?

This is a discussion on How to get a halter on a head-shy horse? within the Horse Talk forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • When horses are halter shy
  • How to get a halter on a shy horse

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    07-21-2013, 09:07 AM
Exclamation How to get a halter on a head-shy horse?

Somehow, during the night, Lucky got her halter off. It isn't broken, and she isn't hurt, I just came out to feed, and it was off. She is really hard to catch, even with the halter on. The only time that I was able to take her halter off and put on a new one was when she was sedated for the vet. Obviously, she needs her halter back on- she's in her paddock, no stall.

I really need help on this one, preferably today.... Thank you so much!
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    07-21-2013, 10:48 AM
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Obviously, she needs her halter back on- she's in her paddock, no stall.
'Obviously', to me, this horse needs to be trained to allow her head to be touched and needs to be taught to stand for catching, haltering and general handling. She desperately needs training.

Right now, you need to:

1) build or put up a small pen called a 'catch pen. Use portable panels or build a solid little pen (best plan), high enough she cannot jump out.

2) Coax her into a smaller pen with another gentle horse.

3) Hire a cowboy that can rope and drag her in.
    07-21-2013, 10:50 AM
Does the horse not like you touching his head or any part of his body? Like, will she let you walk up to her slowly or will she run away? If you be a little more descriptive on how she is with head-shy-ness, I can help you better.
    07-21-2013, 11:14 AM
Cherie: Well, yes I know that she needs training, certain circumstances have prevented her training from advancing in recent weeks.

Amberly: She doesn't like having her mouth or ears touched.
    07-21-2013, 01:12 PM
Do you really leave a halter on the horse all the time? I've never seen that done: halters get put on when the horse is going to be led or tied, and taken off when the work is over.

Maybe that's WHY she worked so hard to get it off, and is so reluctant to let you put another one on her? I can imagine that it would be uncomfortable having it on all the time...
    07-21-2013, 01:44 PM
If she will let you approach with it with treat in hand (if she isn't a biter or obnoxious about treats) don't give her the treat unless she allows for part to go over her nose, repeat as often as necessary until you get it up over her head and hooked. Helps to have a halter that clips so it is similar to bridling and slightly larger than necessary. You'd then need to fit. If that isn't an option having someone rope and tie her to get it on is going to be what you may have to do. Once on then every day several times a day go out with a larger halter and put it on and take it off repeatedly. She needs to be at a point where she can go without as that is safest.
    07-21-2013, 03:09 PM
Jamesqf- yes, we leave it on her all the time, since she is so hard to catch we have half a rope lead line on her halter, as recommend by our farrier. And that's so weird.... I've only been to one barn where they usually have he halters off, the others are only off in their stalls.

QtrBel- we're doing something similar to that- this morning,. We laid the halter on the ground with a treat resting in it, then she had to take a treat from a hand that was also holding the halter...
    07-21-2013, 06:36 PM
If I have a hard to catch horse, I will hide a hay string in my hand. I will feed the horse and rub on his neck. If I can drop the hay string over to the other side and wrap it around his neck, he thinks he is caught. I then put a more secure lead rope over the neck and then put on the halter.
    07-22-2013, 10:58 AM
Celeste- I can try that, but she won't even let me touch her at this point. Even if I could get that far with her, she might get very violent.

Tomorrow we have a guy coming out who trains horses for the lady we bought this horse from- he'll probably just put her out in a field and run her ragged- I'm just hoping she won't jump the fence!
    07-22-2013, 11:03 AM
Not to sound rude, but to me it sounds like there are more things you should be working on this horse besides trying to get her halter back on.

Especially since you said you were concerned with her getting violent.

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