Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Washington, USA.
Definitely don't try to force the bit into his mouth. Try and figure out what's causing him to react the way he is. I worked with an Arab that you couldn't bridle, because some idiot trainer had told his old rider to tweak his ears like mad when he was "misbehaving" under saddle. It took about three years of patience and accepting the fact that maybe you weren't going to ride that day, to get him to accept the bridle without panicking.
We didn't try to restrain him, he was in an open area, and if he wanted to back up, we let him take a few steps and stop him. We took a while just desensitizing him to the bridle as a whole, rubbing it all over his body and taking it away when he stopped trying to move away from it. And since his fear was getting his ears hurt, we spent a lot of time rubbing on his ears. So are you sure he is okay with his ears, poll, forehead, etc, being touched?
We also rubbed the headstall up his nose and back down a few times. And when we did get the bit in his mouth, we made sure we stuck our fingers in so the bit didn't clang against his teeth. That's another thing people don't usually think about, letting the bit clang on a horse's teeth while bridling.
Just remember that you can't be sure what he's been through, so be patient and be kind. =]
"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."