Bell on Halter?

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Bell on Halter?

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  • History of rhythm bells for horses
  • Spooky horse grocery bags

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    11-29-2008, 11:18 PM
Bell on Halter?

When I went to go look at buying the horse I have now she had a little bell on her Halter. Not like a little cat bell but the kind of bell you would put on a dogs collar or something. Well I asked why the bell was on the halter and the owner told me that it helped to keep the horse from spooking. Like having the bell noise would be comforting to the horse. Anyways it seemed to work really well. Dixie definitely doesnt spook as much when she has the bell on her halter. But my question is, is has anyone ever heard of something like that and does anyone have any training "tricks" they would like to share???
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    11-30-2008, 01:34 AM
Bells definitely work! I use them on mine. I will even put them on their feet. I had some of these strange dog christmassy type bands with bells on them, that you would use to decorate your "pet" with.. So I thought why not. They started paying attention to their feet alot more when walking, and seemed to calm out alot from it! Not to mention, the first time was always fun, LOL!

I will also use a grocery bag. I will loop it behind their head on their pol strap. Wind catches it while they are running, and they freak, but after some time they get better!
    11-30-2008, 11:17 AM
Cool I wasn't sure if anyone else heard of that.

And I think i'll try that grocery bag thing.
    11-30-2008, 11:40 AM
About the grocery bag thing - BIG WARNING!!!!!

DO NOT attach a grocery bag firmly on a horse that is spooky.
In fact, I really don't recommend it on any horse.
I knew a person who tried to de-spook their horse that way, and attached the bag to the saddle, and started lunging the horse... the horse flipped his lid, broke free of her, jumped through the fence, and literally ran himself ragged.
He was drenched in sweat when she caught him and he had cut up his legs bad from not clearing the fence, then running all over the place trying to lose the bag.
It did not work, in fact it backfired; that horse is as spooky with bags as he was on day one, if not spookier.
I will NEVER forget that day, it's burned into my mind; the horse crashing through the fence trying to get away, his legs cut up when he came back to the stable.

I cannot imagine what would have happened if the bag had been attached to his halter!!!

So, it may work on some horses.... but I think it lacks common sense to tie (!) it anywhere near a horse's head.

Bells are one thing, bags are COMPLETELY different.

Please think twice before doing this.

One method of de-spooking USING a bag was this:

Attach a grocery bag to a dressage or stock whip, that way you have the ability to touch the horse all over with the bag and still stand at his head. Start by having the bag close to you and start at the shoulder, gently rubbing and not making too much of a racket. Praise the horse for standing quietly. Once he's okay with the bag at the shoulder, you can start rubbing from farther away, using the stick, and working slowly around the horse's whole body.
    11-30-2008, 11:57 AM
As for the bag thing, I also have a story, but my trainer told me, I wasn't personally there.

Someone thought it would be a good idea to 'desensitize' their horse by tying a bag to their tail. The horse freaked out, broke loose from the owner's grip, and rain straight through the fence because it was concentrating so much on what was on it's tail. The horse ended up breaking one of it's legs, and had to be put to sleep.

So just my opinion, but I would NEVER risk that. I agree with JDI's idea of it on a dressage whip or something.
    11-30-2008, 12:10 PM
This horse could have easily broken a leg; he was so scared of the bag he didn't care where he went. He "jumped" the first two planks of fence, but completely and totally smashed through the third rail. It could have ended so much worse than it did.
And yes, I was there.

I would never ever EVER recommend tying a bag, or even looping a bag on a horse's tack.
    11-30-2008, 03:11 PM
I doubt i'll actually tie the bag on her halter or anything like that...But today I actually found a grocery bag lying in one of the barns so I balled up the bag and rubbed it on her shoulder and the rest of her baody slowly making the bag bigger and bigger and she handled it like an ol' pro! It also helps to keep her from spooking when putting on a blanket!

Thanks for your concern!!!
    12-01-2008, 01:52 AM
It is not uncommon to see bells (like the ones on cows) on pastured horses here. However, never on halters. There is a collar that sits directly on the neck behind the poll. I believe it more used to locate an animal than for desensitizing purposes but obviously works for both.
    12-01-2008, 04:23 PM
I use bells on my riding and driving horses. Steed beads not only block out spooky noises that are distracting to the horse but also set a rhythm for the horse to follow.

Driving horses were trained with them for the same reason and not just used on sleighs for the holidays, which is where we still see horses in bells the most, but have a calming effect. Horses love the sound of rhythm. A herd in motion is very rhythmical.

I don't use them in the pasture but use a string around the neck attached to the saddle like a breast collar or on a harness saddle or shafts of a cart.
    12-02-2008, 05:03 AM
Maybe I should have clarified it a little..

As for the bag thing, I think the interperitation of attaching the bag is not to be just placed on the halter and that's it. Yes.. definitely rubbing it all over and going from there! My assumption without further explination can come across a little less explanitory. If you do have a spooky horse, then it may be best to start small and work your way up.

Again, this is another "round pen" type exercise, where they don't have free roam to hurt themselves. If you keep a controlled environment in place, and take steps up to it as with anything else, then it is safe and benificial. I think that this bag trick is very useful as long as a person uses "sound" and "good" common sense in application. Just be safe and know your horses limits before going down that road!

I will say, there are crazier things done, and many I witness regularly that go beyond a bag in desensitization. Some I hope to share as a surprise in the professional and work related area, in the future.

Bells... That is true.. I had not related that to the use of bells and horses before! LOL! Good one!

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