Thanks Corporal! Where she was at, she pretty much became a broodmare and pasture pet. She had a stall in the garage with no bedding and no hay. The girl that had her, sold her foal and left her by herself. She was turned out in the morning in a very small field and brought in in the evening and given a scoop of grain and that was it. No time with anyone. When I first got her, she would actually ration herself with her hay afraid that she wouldn't get more. She had trust issues, but has come a long way in a short amount of time! Now, she nuzzles and gives me kisses and she's done great with ground training! She picked up on it very quickly and remembers well.
My mare was rode in a tom thumb before I bought her. She was suposedly ear shy from a ear mite problem. So I brought her home. Got her trust to handle her ears, taught her to lower her head, and started her in a D-ring snaffle. It all got better. Her previous owner rode very heavy handed, always in contact with her mouth, used a tie down to keep her from tossing her head. Needless to say she was very bracy with the snaffle. So I went back to the harsh bit, to gradually back off while still getting her to give. 2 rides latter she broke her lead rope when she saw me coming with the headstall !! All the problems come back in a violent outburst. The tom thumb went in the garbage can. It took a while to get her trust back, then teach her to give to much lighter cues from the snaffle. Bottom line is take the time to train her. She now rides on a loose rein with no head tossing, no tie down, and stands unhaltered be tacked. I bet you have the same problem. She is scared of the harsh bit hurting her mouth. Teach her to give to easy light pressure without pain. It will be a slow process to undo the the preception she asociates with bridling and pain.
It's pretty amazing to me how often they are recommened in local tack stores. Lol. I see a lot of well trained cow horses being ridden in them.:roll: I prefer to use the least I have too, to get the responce I want. Then back off.
Clicker/treat training will help you resolve this. First teach the horse to touch a target that could be a small ball or pill bottle on the end of a riding crop or stick. The horse initially will touch it by accident but it still earns a click and a treat. When you can hold it high or low and the horse seeks to touch it then you can graduate to the bridle. Let the headstall fall below your hands and use the bit as the target. When he touches it, c/t. Move it away then offer it again. If you are patient he will start to lip the bit or even lick it. C/t. When he's doing this and relaxed (relaxed is very important) gather the headstall about midway to the browband in your left hand and hold it so the bit in hanging correctly. His nose now has to enter the headstall a little in order to touch the bit.c/t, I think you get the idea. Don't even plan on putting the bridle on that day. The repetition is what works and always work with his ears level with his withers. If he is ear shy use the same technique by putting your hand far enough away that it doesn't trouble him. In this case he is rewarded for not reacting. Very gradually work your hand closer to his ear. If he starts to move, keep you hand still and wait for him to stop moving and immediately click. It's ok if the treat is a few seconds in coming, he knows it's on it's way.
Thanks Saddlebag...I never really thought of trying CT. I actually used the same technique to teach her to give me kisses, but without the clicker...lol. She picked up on it fast. I will definitely try!
Teaching to drop the head first, then rope in mouth before bit, or ct alternative are all good. Another thing that helps take pressure off of horse is to sit on a stool while you work with the bridling!