my approach is not working... horse fearful of the bridle

       The Horse Forum > Training Horses > Horse Training

my approach is not working... horse fearful of the bridle

This is a discussion on my approach is not working... horse fearful of the bridle within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category
  • How to approach a fearful horse
  • How to put a bridle on a difficult horse

Like Tree17Likes

LinkBack Thread Tools
    12-01-2012, 03:30 PM
my approach is not working... horse fearful of the bridle

My big girl is utterly petrified of the bridle to the point where putting it on is a traumatic experience for both of us. I want to get her mouthed sooner rather than later [something I intend to do myself as I did a pretty darn good job on mum's pony if I do say so myself] and because I show I really do need her going in a bridle, else I'd just train her to ride in a halter.

Once it is on the bridle doesn't bother her at all but PUTTING it on is darn near impossible and like I said traumatic on all sides.

I've trained a horse to bridle before but that was Satin who was at the time only 12.2 or 12.3 and a different personality type [left brained introvert, not scared of anything!] so my approach was "you can't get away from it, don't bother trying". The trouble is, Magic CAN get away, simply by lifting her head, because she's 16hh-ish and I'm 5'2" with boots on. The more I just hold it there waiting for her to bring her head down to where I can reach it the more likely she is to explode when I do finally get the **** thing on, and putting it on then taking it off then putting it on again sends her to her "happy place" from which she has her biggest explosions.

I am dealing with an EXTREME right brained introvert, to use the Parelli horsenalities to describe her. She's not a bad horse, just a difficult personality type for me to work with. I am not a mad Parelli-ite, I am just a horse person who uses bits and pieces of whatever I come across, and "right brained introvert" describes her without making her sound like a killer.

Does anyone here have experience in teaching horses of that specific personality type to bridle? I'd love it if I could teach her not to freeze in the first place but in the mean time it's the bridling thing that keeps weighing on my mind. She is injured at the moment so is having a break from the learning side of things, just being handled for treatment, but when she heals I want to get back to work with her and have some more ideas up my sleeve.
Sponsored Links
    12-01-2012, 04:36 PM
Are you having trouble with the bit or bridle? Sounds like she needs some desensitizing. Get to where you can rub the bridle all over her. Get in a round pen. Keep her on her lead. Put the bridle up to her and if she moves follow her. Keep that bridle in the same spot (do not take it away while she is moving. It will only teach her to be afraid). Keep her nose tipped towards you so she can't take you for a sprint lol. Once she stops and calms down take the bridle away. She needs to learn that if she is not sure of something, stand still relax and it won't be scary anymore. Take the bit off the bridle and get to where you can rub it all over her head. Once you can rub her sides with it This should get easier. Only take the scary object away when she is relaxed. With the bit off the bridle slip it over her head and off. Do that for a while. Another thing that would be good is teach her to give to pressure on her halter. Teach her to put her head down when you ask. To get ready for the bit slip the lead rope in her mouth again and again as you would a bit. If she won't open her mouth a finger in the corner of her mouth should get her to open her mouth. This way she will learn to open her mouth for the bit without you worrying about bumping her and scaring her the first time. Horses like that need confidence building and desensitizing. I like Clinton Anderson's approach to spooking and scary objects. It's worked on every horse I've ever had. This is only one way to do this. There are other ways. This is just what has always worked for me :)
Posted via Mobile Device
LesandLily likes this.
    12-01-2012, 04:42 PM
Also use the desensitizing to run random things on her face. So much that she's not even surprised when you do it. She just goes "silly human. You're silly. I'm just going to stand here. " lol. I throw random things at my horses. I never hit them. Just throw things around them. They really don't care anymore :). With horses like this do not creep around them. Don't not try to scare them. If anything try to scare them. And do it until it doesn't bother them anymore. Just keep the head tipped toward you. If you try to give your horse a heart attack you will get a calmer horse LOL. Remember your nervousness will become her nervousness. With my horses I can crack whips around them, tie plastic sacks to their halters, and put tarps on them. I know you're not going to put a tarp on them in real riding but exposure and repetitiveness helps. They then learn if something scares them they have to calm down for it to go away. :))
Posted via Mobile Device
    12-01-2012, 04:43 PM
Rub not run
Posted via Mobile Device
Posted via Mobile Device
    12-01-2012, 04:56 PM
That's the method I tried when "you can't get away from it" didn't work... yeah didn't work either.

Her issue, being a right brain introvert, isn't that she is outwardly tense and uptight. She seems very calm and relaxed and then out of "nowhere" just explodes. This is why it's traumatic on both sides. For her it's so scary she just can't hold it in, and for me, right when I think she's going to be ok this time I'm scrambling for minimum safe distance! Other far more experienced horse people have seen no warning signs at all either, she's just a very subtle horse until she can't cope any longer.

The bit is not a problem at all, it's the act of pulling something over her ears that scares her. She stands nicely to have a halter or bridle taken OFF over her ears but put on is another matter entirely.
    12-01-2012, 05:00 PM
She is actually very quiet, very sweet... just seems to have a panic switch. The only description that really fits her is Parelli's "right brained introvert"... honestly I have never met a horse that can seem completely unworried one second and then be rearing up and striking out in utter terror the next, when nothing has happened other than that I've pushed her a little too far outside her comfort zone.
    12-01-2012, 05:05 PM
Okay. I see. There are warning signs but they are subtle. Like horse language subtle lol. Okay so have you tried just messing with her ears? Just touching them? Have you checked her ears? Sometimes little mites will find their way in and bother them. My friends horse was doing weird things with her head and ears and it turns out it was a chiro problem. Another thing is just very basic. Trust and confidence. They're big things too.
Posted via Mobile Device
    12-01-2012, 05:08 PM
Have you tried just working with the bit and the headstall separately ? As in practicing holding the bit in your hands and putting it in her mouth and taking it out. And also taking the headstall with out the bit on it and putting it over her ears and taking it off ?

I would try doing that. It seems like you need to back off somewhere.
    12-01-2012, 05:08 PM
Have you tried just working with the bit and the headstall separately ? As in practicing holding the bit in your hands and putting it in her mouth and taking it out. And also taking the headstall with out the bit on it and putting it over her ears and taking it off ?

I would try doing that. It seems like you need to back off somewhere.
Oldhorselady likes this.
    12-01-2012, 05:09 PM
I don't think I've ever seen a horse just do that with no warning signs. With my gelding if I'm on his back I can feel him hollow out and tense up. When she freaks out like that make her work work work. It may also be her way of getting out of work. Maybe bridle equals work. Maybe working her when she freaks will teach her freaking equals working. Lol. That's another thing Clinton Anderson teaches. On the trail if you have a horse that constantly invents monsters,make them work everytime they think they see one. Redirect the energy. Soon they won't want to spook anymore and they'll listen to you instead of worrying about monsters
Posted via Mobile Device

Quick Reply
Please help keep the Horse Forum enjoyable by reporting rude posts.

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Working a Mini in cart, Bridle Questions? SunnyMeadeFarm Driving 15 11-11-2012 04:06 PM
Help for a newb - horse fearful after moving to a new paddock - Artemisynn Horse Training 8 04-16-2012 07:35 AM
Fearful / trust issues with horse Jessica4 Horse Training 13 12-17-2011 05:09 PM
fearful horse? dullylover Horse Training 84 07-28-2011 06:34 PM

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 08:06 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0