Anyways, I recently bought a leather driving bridle for Sour, along with a 3.5" half cheek snaffle bit. I pre-measured everything, then went out to try her with it.
The first time, I enlisted the help of a friend of ours who has cart-trained most of our miniatures to help me bridle her. The trainer first had me tie Sour's head down to the lower rail in order to keep her head down...something I didn't really understand since not only would it scare her if she tried to pull her head up, but she's only 32" tall...it's not like I couldn't reach her head if she DID hold it high. But, since she had done this more than I had, I followed her instructions. She then had me take the bridle (I had taken the reins off at this time), hold it up to Sour's mouth- and offer her a few pellets of horse feed to coax her into taking the bit. As soon as she took the bit, I was to give her the food. She did really well, taking the bit. Ofcourse, being her first time- she kept her mouth open and kept drooling- but the Trainer said that this was to be expected. We left the bridle on for one minute, took it off, gave her some more grain, then repeated the exercise.
Two days later I decided to try again. This time though, I got the bit into her mouth but when I went to slip the bridle behind her ears, she jerked backwards, scaring herself. I figured that the browband was scaring her, as she'd never had me pull her ears under something before, so I backed off (my first mistake) of bridling her and worked on some ear desensatizing. I should have tried bridling her again afterwards, but wanted to stop on a good note.
The next, day, I tried again- but without the browband. I didn't even get as far as getting the bit all the way in her mouth before she suddenly jerked backwards, reared- and fell over. This, ofcourse- shocked her. I checked her over and she was fine luckily, but I think it scared both of us. I coaxed her into taking the bit afterwards, not wanting to make the same mistake again, but didn't put the whole bridle in.
What I want to know is if there is a way to make it less scary for her, or to coax her into taking the bit without a fight. (she does a LOT of head shaking, tounge thrusting, and ear pinning when I'm bridling her.) I've taught plenty of horses to take a bit, but I've never had one so determine not to give in to it! A friend recommended rubbing some apple juice or honey on the bit...I don't know if that would work or not?
I'm bridling her with a halter on at the moment for more control, while she is tied (not down, like the trainer first had me do, BTW, with enough room to take a step in any direction.) with grain to entice her. Should I be having someone hold her while I bridle her? Everything seems to fit right so I don't think it's hurting her.
Any help would be great guys, thanks!