I just bought a 7 y/o Arab mare. We have had her for 5 days now. On day 1 we saddled her up and took her for a trail ride, and getting her bridle over her head was not happening. She pulled and jumped and it was terrifying -- as if we were trying to kill her. We ended up taking the brow band off, and putting the bit on in a really roundabout way. When I went to put the reins over her head she did the same thing. Pulled her head up, huffed, stomped, and jumped.
I considered the fact that it was a new family, new horses, new trail, and new tack..plus she was in heat. She's beginning to settle down and it not nervous anymore, but still gets a bit high headed when I reach up to pet her. We get a fly mask on now (day 3 of fly mask) with little fuss, but she won't bow her head until I gently pull her nose down to me.
I give her tons of love and kisses when I bring her head down. And will continue to bring her head to my level a few times a day. I don't reach up to put the fly mask on. She must come to me. I believe a similar approach will work with the bridle.
We thought ears, but I have handled her ears several times with no reaction. She was originally bred to be a halter horse and we think it may be tied to that. Does anyone know if halter training could have resulted in being high headed? There is something about putting something over her head that really scares her.