I just bought a mare who is as good as gold - couldn't be happier with her so far. The only problem is that she hates having her ears touched - which is kind of annoying when trying to bridle. Is there any way I can work on this? I'm not sure where to begin. Posted via Mobile Device
Some horses simply don't like their ears being touched on. But, I would start by desensitizing her by everyday whenever you think about it, sweet talk her and gently rub around the base of the ear, taking your hand away whenever she acts up, and just trying to show her that you wont hurt her. The more comfortable she gets, the more you work your way up on to her ears. Be really careful when bridling her, be extremely careful with her ears, show her that her ears being touched is not a bad thing. Lots of sweet talking, praise, and don't take it to far. When she says she's uncomfortable, just take your hand away, and try again later
Keep touching and rubbing and working your way up to the ears. My guy was twitched an I have just repeatedly worked with his ears. Don't remove your hand when she acts up but when she settles down do. Just work with her on it slowly.
I like to use a long end of the whip line, over the neck and rub it back and forth up the neck to the ears, slowly & softly if she pops her head up or starts to get tense, rub there for a bit & head back down to release pressure. Stop & repeat this until you can rub all the way up to the ears without her tensing or getting freaked out.
This way you have started a building block to work on the ears.
You can rub all the way up to the ears & work from the sides, in safe distance of a flying hoof or head. Rub and drop the whip line & repeat when she doesnt tense or toss her head over.
Remember, if you get a moment to rub a ear, immediately release pressure by dropping the line. Working up the neck to get one little rub is your second stepping stone! Then you can work on two rubs.
Then switch sides & start all over again.
If you can get both ears rubbed once, great! End your little lesson & go play something else. Return back to it later & start allllll over again.
A whip line is perfect its long enough and skinny to be gentle with "see-saw" the rope up and down, back & forth. Great tool to be the extension of your fingers so if you need to release pressure quickly you just let go of one side :)
Do approach and retreat with her.......find a starting point with rubbing up her neck going towards the ears......do not take away if she acts up about it, that only teaches her if she does that all she has to do is act up and it will go away.
Thanks for all the tips guys! She really isn't aggressive at all with this issue, she just tenses up, puts her head up and moves away. After a few attempts I can get the bridle on, but it is a struggle. She accepts the bit easily, it's just putting it over her ears! Posted via Mobile Device
She just sounds like a fidgety little mare with her ears & gets all bent outta shape about it lol. I wouldn't say aggressive, just a part of her training that was forgotten\ or If the insides of her ears are clean shaven I would say twitch was the colporate to that.
I've seen this in a few horses, and the advice you've been given is spot on. The only thing I can add is to work in several short sessions, as opposed to one long one. When she gives you what you want, just let her rest for a while.
The other thing I would add is that if she's not getting better, check for parasites or fungus in her ears. I knew a mare once that had a thorn embedded just behind the base of her ear. Once that was taken care of, she was very easy to bridle.
She's only 3 years old - she just started her training this year. She's a perfect little girl, it's just the ears! And as for the whip, you guys are talking about the ones that have the little piece of string attached to the end, right? A dressage whip I think it is.. Posted via Mobile Device