Originally Posted by specialdelivery
So ever since I got my gelding he has been a total toad to bridle. He is 17hh or better and has the neck of a giraffe, and I am 5'3''. The second he sees the bridle he tightens his lips. I can get the bit in with out to much trouble but when I go to put the rest over his head he streches his neck as high up as it will go and gerks his head around. Its a 2 person job if you have someone over six feet, but even then it take 15 minutes to get on. Its only for the bridle for a halter he's is an angel. I try not to bang his teeth with the bit but when he gerks around its hard not to. I tried putting fruit rollup on the bit(the sweet tasting ones) so he would take that better, but it really hasnt helped. This is my first horse and I havent been around to many, but all the other ones that I have bridled are shorter and put their heads down to help you out. Every time I go to feed him, a couple times a day, I rub his poll and play with his ears other than that any tips on how to teach him to lower his head and be good about it would be great. Its not fun to start a ride off like that.
This may be long so bear with me.
I worked with a 16.3 Tennessee Walker who did this sometimes. You're right, no fun!!
Anyways, this is how I got him to put his head down.
1. Tie him (ONLY if he's comfortable tying, which I assume he is)
2. Put a small amount of pressure on his poll, right inbetween his ears. KEEP it there, until he puts his head down.
NOTE: He can put his head down a foot, or a half inch, either way remove the pressure AS SOON as he gives his head down.
3. Reward him for putting his head down with a pat or a verbal "good boy"
4. Put pressure back on the top of his head
5. Keep going with the process until his head is at a good height, then lots and lots of praise.
If you do this consistently and get it to the point where putting the halter on is easy, and he puts his head down when asked, then you can get the bit in the horses mouth easily, just by putting your right arm over his poll, in between his ears, with head stall in hand. Then using your left hand, guide the bit into his mouth. Then (with your right hand still on his poll) gently guide the headstall and fit it over his ears.
It may take some time, but it is well worth the training. You CAN stand on a mounting block, because if done correctly, the horse will never freak, but will be calm about putting his head down when asked.
Hope that helps :)