Being difficult with Halter and Bridle, Really need help!! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 10-25-2013, 01:08 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Being difficult with Halter and Bridle, Really need help!!


I just got my new Arab-Saddlebred Mare less than 2 weeks ago. She is a good girl. Used to be someones primary riding horse, but she is a little rusty as she has had time off since she had her baby in 2010.

When I try to put the halter or bridle on her, she moves her head either up and away or side to side (whatever side I'm coming from, she goes opposite.) She is being so difficult. She is fine when she gets it on, but she just hates it. Shes not head shy, because she lets me pet her face, and touch her ears.

I need some advice. Thanks!
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post #2 of 12 Old 10-25-2013, 02:46 PM
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The mare has got your number.

Can you ask for the help of an experienced horseperson to work with you and your mare?

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post #3 of 12 Old 10-25-2013, 03:14 PM
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one thing to try is before putting the halter or bridle on, put your lead or reins around her neck. Bring it up close to her pole, if she tries to evade, pull her back to you sharply.
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post #4 of 12 Old 10-25-2013, 03:16 PM
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Have you taught her to drop her head? If not, that is the first place to start.

Second, I am going to suspect that her ground manners are not perfect, if she does this while bridling. Gain control and respect of her ground manners, to gain control of her body (including the head).

I agree. Do you have someone experienced with horses who can help you?
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post #5 of 12 Old 10-25-2013, 04:23 PM
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My saddlebred mare also use to have a problem with this. Part of it is training, obviously, but I think another part is that she is so naturally high-set that when shes "paying attention" she perks her head up, and gets out of my reach. Haha! My solution was to just spend about 20-30 minute sessions of just putting the halter/bridle on and off. I would throw the lead rope over her neck first, to "catch" her, and then just pratice, practice, practice. When I bridle her, I make sure to secure the hatler around her neck, so she cant walk off, and I can pull her back to me if needed.

She was also cautious with people around her ears for a long time, once that improved, so did her haltering/bridling. So check that out too. Sometimes it's just the fear of someone/something being around their ears, and not the actual tack itself.

Good luck!
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post #6 of 12 Old 10-25-2013, 06:53 PM
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I also rode a horse that did this. As soon as he saw the bridle he would put his nose straight up in the air. He was gelded late and could be very cheeky. This was such a game for him. You could almost see him smiling.

I would usually just stand and let him hold his nose up, then eventually he'd give up and drop it. I'd praise him and he'd let me put it on. I did work on lowering his head many times, but he never really gave up this nonsense.

Patience! lol
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post #7 of 12 Old 10-25-2013, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by sorral3 View Post
one thing to try is before putting the halter or bridle on, put your lead or reins around her neck. Bring it up close to her poll, if she tries to evade, pull her back to you sharply.
You know, this USED to be so common, but not so much, anymore. I ALWAYS do this bc as much as I've LOVED my +30 horses over the years, give or take a few Alpo's, I just don't ever trust them to be patient and wait for me to halter.

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post #8 of 12 Old 10-25-2013, 07:46 PM
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This is not a halter and bridle issue as much as it is a head control issue. I would not worry so much about putting the halter on and off and on and off... I would get her haltered then I would start working on head set. Here is how:

1. Put your hand up on her head by the poll.
2. Add pressure by pushing down on the top of her head.
3. When her head goes down release the pressure.
Part 3 is the most important part as her head goes down since you are pushing down your hand is going to want to follow and continue to push down. This is the mistake that lots of people make. You have to pay close attention if her head goes down at all stop pushing down, try to remember to raise you hand off her head as her head goes down. Its takes a little practice to get it right.

What you are trying to work towards is her head should drop out from under your hand as you apply pressure.

Once she is doing good and dropping her head, start asking her to keep her head down for longer and longer. Ask her to lower it lower and lower.

Once you have good control of her head, then add the halter or bridle. Just put it in place like you are going to bridle/halter (but at this point you are not haltering or bridling). Work her just like before put the halter in place and ask her to put her head down.

Once you have good head control with the bridle/halter in your hand then put it on.

after this she should be fine, keep playing with asking her to put her head down from time to time. But once she learns this lesson she should be fine.

Good luck let us know how it is going.
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post #9 of 12 Old 10-25-2013, 09:06 PM
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Make sure too that you are not hitting her eyes when you bridle or halter, not trying to put bridle on with curb strap fastened, and that you are not using a bridle too small too.

If you are banging her teeth, or mishandling her ears when bridling this will also make one do this.
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post #10 of 12 Old 10-26-2013, 11:28 AM
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There was an article in Horse & Rider magazine in the 90's by John Lyons describing exactly what CowboyBob is posting. It had pictures and threw in a halter & bridling steps as well. I never really get much out of magazine articles but one worked like a charm. Someone had brought me a horse to train that was crazy hard to bridle, within 2 days, she was dropping her head at the slightest touch to her poll and easy to bridle. Maybe google & see if that article still exists somewhere, if not, I really suggest trying to follow Bob's instructions.
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