Headshy mare - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 04-07-2011, 03:24 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: NY
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Headshy mare

Recently I bought an older appy mare and recieved her pasture mate as part of the deal.

The older mare is a dream to be around, leads great, super ground manners, tacks up and rides wonderfully.

The younger companion horse is not as great. She is a 7/8 year old appy mare...was saddle broke as a 2/3 year old but then left to sit in the field until we got her with minimal handling.

The big issue I am having with her at this point is haltering. When they were delivered they both came with their halters on, after settling down in the barn for a day they were set loose in the connecting pasture without their halters of course as there are woods and I didnt want anyone to get snagged on a tree or whatever.

A day passes and I go to collect them for some grooming and bonding.

Keep in mind that I have handled the older mare several times at this point, caught her in a paddock at the previous owners, lunged, rode her ect. Also had a trainer out to evaluate her as well as the vet to draw blood and a full exam was done. She is perfect for me. The younger mare was sort of gotten on a whim however.....the day I had the vet out the owners offered her to me as a companion to the older mare. I agreed, had the vet examine her as well (she was all set and healthy) and they were delivered to me the next day...

Anyways I go to get them for grooming and the younger mare (Lacy) will not let me halter her.....(the older was super behaved though) Eventually I get fed up, take the older mare (Pie) to the barn and head back to the field with just a lead. I was able to get the lead around her neck, and eventually after alot of todo gently get the halter on her.

I put a break away on her and it has been on ever since...I really want to get it off but am worried that I wont be able to get one on again...I am by no means a "trainer" I just have worked at a barn for a few years now and finally found myself in a position where I can own horses. I have helped halterbreak 3-4 babies a year for the past 3 years but this mare is proving to be a challenge.

She seems extreamly head shy when her halter is off....I can do pretty much whatever I want with her....but what can I do to get the halter on her???

Sorry for the long rambling post!
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post #2 of 4 Old 04-07-2011, 04:44 PM
Join Date: Jan 2011
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There are lots of things you can do... but I'll give you one idea to start. Since you are leaving a halter on after you fetch her or when you fetch her put another halter on. That way you can be very gentle when you put the halter on and hold her if you need to with the rope and the other halter.

You have to focus on your technique. She has a bubble and you need to read it. If you feel or see her getting tense then wait until she is calm before you move. I have a horse that was hard to halter too and it took about 3 months of just putting on halters every day a few times to get him over it. Still he is not the greatest but I always know when he is ready to have it put on because he looks right at me and lowers his head. That is very important for you to learn i.e. when she is ready and communicates that to you.

Good luck.
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post #3 of 4 Old 04-07-2011, 05:51 PM
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Northern Utah
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If you put the halter on her every day several times she will get used to having her head handled. If you catch her and give her a little grain (two handfuls in a pan on the ground is plenty) and then turn her back out she will soon look forward to being caught. EVERY time you go out to catch her you MUST catch her. Don't try to catch her if you can't spend two hours trying.

There's nothing like the Rockies in the springtime... Nothing like the freedom in the air... And there ain't nothing better than draggin calves to the fire and there's nothing like the smell of burning hair. -Brenn Hill
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post #4 of 4 Old 04-07-2011, 06:14 PM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Ireland
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Lola was the exact same. I had to leave the headcollar on in the field because she was nearly impossible to catch without it on. I took me forever to put one on her even in the stall. So I was really gentle with her. Do not grab her head. That still annoys Lola. Maybe hold a treat in your hand while your are putting the halter on so she might lower her head.

I just had to be kind to lola and not force the headcollar on her. I would hold it in front off her and slip it over her head without holding her because like I said it annoyed her when I held her head. Now when I hold the headcollar in front of her she sticks her nose into it. The bridle is still a bit of a battle though. She is getting a lot better with that too and will not pull her head and me up into the air with her. I pulled muscles in my arm because she lifted me off the ground =O But now she might try to lift her head but she will not so it so severely.

Just be calm and nice and gentle and throw in some treats when she does it well.
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