A friend of mine, who really doesn't know much about horses, thinks that her 8 yr old appendix quarter horse, who had 30 days of training 3 years ago, should be rideable by a beginner ( I.e. Someone who rides 1 week a year at camp). She has invited me over, because she is having troubles bridling ( obviously) and she can't figure out why.she's the type of person who WILL NOT get proffesional help, or listen to reason, and I would like to atleast have a knowledgeable answer as to why this is not a good idea ( so please no comments on how I am in no way qualified and i'm dumb for doing this because i'm not a trainer, ect. ) anyway, I am in no way claiming to be a trainer, I ride a 12 yr old warmblood, who knows everything, and i'm 15, I am consintrating on training myself, not a young horse. Anyway, I am guessing that she will want me to bridle this horse for her. Does anyone have any tips as to what to do in this situation? Should I attempt to bridle him? If so, how? I am guessing you go at it differently than you would when bridling a well experienced horse...
I think you are in a situation where you feel you need to help her just because she's your friend. I feel a little sorry for you for having to do extra work for someone who wont listen or try on her own. If this really starts to bug you, you could pretend not to know how to help. She will have to figure these things out for herself or not ride. I know it sounds harsh but your not always going to be around nither is anyone else. But if you have to absolutley help her, I need to know why this horse is hard to bridle or what she is doing that she can't bridle the horse herself. Just a little background will help. You are young and its great that you want to help. But you have your own horse to focus on. You know? Let me know the reasons here and I can try to help you.
I would really love to say that I don't know how to help, but as sad as it sounds, i'm the closest to a proffesional that she has, and I atleast know how to care for a horse. She is the type of person who, if you don't know somethings, automatically assumes that you know NOTHING about the suject. So, i'm the reasonable thinker in this situation, so I sort of need to known ( or appear ) to know everything inorder for her to atleast think about listening to anything else I say. Anyway, it was her dad who tried, and being the old " I ate dairy cows in the winter" farmer, he most likely tried do bridle with force. The horse is nice, but i've seen habits that lead me to believe that he won't be the nicest once you're on him, but I think its too early to tell, at the moment I am going to assume that he just does not know what is happening or what to do when being bridled, although, if his past bridling experiences were bad when he was first being broke, you never know. He could be an absolute bag about it. I really need to know what to do if things go wrong. Based on his history, he is prone to bolting, biting, and pulling back
If possible get him in a small round yard or arena where he can't get away. To start with just get him used to having things near his head. Hatlers etc. rub your hands all over his face, behind his ears just make sure he is ok with it. The once he is ok with that just try getting him to lower his head by using your thumb and forefinger pushing between his ears or using just the part that goes behind the ears of a rope halter and pushing down until he releases.dto this until you can get his head down near your waist each time. Then with the bridle, put the head piece in your right hand and the bit in your left hand and place your right hand between his ears with your arm resting on top of his neck (this way he finds it harder to pull away but can still move) and place your thumb of your left hand right in the corner of his mouth to open it and gently place the bit inside it. Do the bridle up and wait for him to be comfprtable with it. May take ten minutes or so. Once he seems reasonably comfortable, take off the bridle and leave it for the day.
The next day (or as soon as possible) do the same thing with putting the bridle on but this time leave it on for a little longer. Continue with this for as long as it takes for him to accept it without getting bored. Then put a saddle or lunge roller on him with the bridle and using some baling twine or rubber, tie the bit to the rings on the front of the saddle (we call this tackling up) nice and loose so that if he relaxes there is still contact on his mouth but it is comfortable for him. Just leave him in the yard with this on for around half an hour or so. Do this for about two days. Then jsut put the bridle with no saddle and not tie him to the saddle and get him flexing to each side from the ground. Remember that the second he gives to the pressure, you release. You could also lunge him with his head tackled up. This helps to teach the horse the correct way to carry his head once he has a rider on his back but it doesn't force the horse to do anything.
Walk him around in the bit and stop him, back him up. Start off pushing on his chest as well as pressure on the reins if you need to to get him to back up.
Once he has figured all this out on the ground he is ready to try it in the saddle. Jsut make sure he is in an enclosed area like roudn yard or arena when he is ridden the first few times.
Once he is being ridden the first thing he needs to be taught is to one rein stop in case he does bolt with his rider. It is difficult to teach from the ground but the flexing should help with that.
The rest is just practise.
Hope all that made sense. Just let me know if you didn' t understand it.
Good idea Ericka. To help with the bridling issue, lots of rubbing on the face, between the ears, and I bet this horse has an issue with being wormed. Work with the mouth. Rubbing his mouth and sticking your fingers in and out. But do work on the poll with your finger and thumb like ericka said. Make sure you release as soon as you see him drop his head the slightest. Its nice that you are willing to help your friend. I sure hope she appreciates you and your efforts. But I hope she learns from you also. Good luck. Anymore questions,,, keep em coming.
I took this picture where I see people rush the process.
Don't go past this point until the horse is completely relaxed and calm.
Spend as much time as it takes to get them to totally trust you here before moving on.