Pushy when bridling - The Horse Forum
  • 1 Post By Peppy Barrel Racing
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post #1 of 7 Old 10-25-2012, 11:25 AM Thread Starter
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Pushy when bridling

So I bought my first TB this week. He is settling in great, is figuring out the routine of things and we are getting his rain rot cleared up. I have been doing a little bit of lunge work with him after his bath to get him to dry faster and to get him in the habit of playing the game. Yesterday, I put the bridle on him under the lunging caveson to get it fitted for him. Well, he was quite the snot trying to rub his head on me or wander off with just the headband over his nose. I stayed patient, would push him off me with my thumbnail or knuckle when he tried to rub, put my hand on his jaw on the off side to stop him from moving his head away and finally got him to stand generally still long enough to put the bridle on. And we had the same issues when I got done and went to remove the bridle.

I imagine that what I did will work over time to get him to behave better, but I am admittedly spoiled in that I have never owned a horse before that I did not raise from a baby. As a result, I have never had to deal with this issue so I am a bit at a loss. Does anyone have any pointers, hints, tips, or tricks that work well on a horse that does this?
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post #2 of 7 Old 10-25-2012, 01:35 PM
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I am going to recommend putting a knotted rope halter on him. Don't tie him with it. You need to teach him to lower his head at your request. Start with a light downward pull on the lead and the moment he gives, even an inch, let go fast like your fingers were burned. This work requires a lot of patience. His head may go up or side to side so just let him figure out that you don't release the pressure until he lowers his head. Your eventual goal is to get his eyes below his withers which will relax him. You may have to practice this many times, not just a few, maybe 100 times so don't give up. Once he's pretty good at this put the knotted halter on under his bridle and use it if he becomes evasive with the bridling. I start by rubbing the face a little with the bridle, then putting the browband on the nose and taking it away, a few times, then rubbing his forehead and cheeks. As long as he holds still always take the bridle away. It seems the opposite of what you want but it works.
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post #3 of 7 Old 10-25-2012, 02:14 PM Thread Starter
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Once I finally get to the point where my hand is over his nose and ready for him to take the bit, he is fine. It is from grooming to that point that he tries to rub on me or walk away. Never puts his head up, just wants to be anywhere but standing still. And once the bridle is on and I start to do the buckles, he resumes the rubbing and wandering. I am planning to start some detailed in hand work with him today to work on his over all respect since I think that may be part of it.
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post #4 of 7 Old 10-25-2012, 03:13 PM
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This is a a respect issue he's not scared he just wants to do what he wants. Though i will say have his teeth been checked that could also be a contributing factor. Before you bridle him do some lunging and ground respect work. Use a rope halter on him then try to put his bridle on over if he rubs you or crowds you in anyway at any time you tug downward on rope halter and back him off you immediately. As soon as he gets in your space back him off don't even let it get to the point of rubbing on you. Look into Clinton Anderson ground work for a reference on things you can do to gain respect. And now to address the moving issue which is also disrespect. Do you know how to disengage a horses hindquarters? When you go to put the bridle on and this horse moves I want you to make his feet move he doesn't get to decide to move his feet you get to. As soon as he takes a few steps back disengage this horses hind end, move this horses feet , don't let him get in your space though. If your uncomfortable with having a horse circling around you closely you can lunge him, make him work make him change directions a lot woah him and if he stands still praise him if he moves move him again. Then try to put the bridle on him if he moves work him more you want to make it rewarding to stand still. On clinton andersons website downunderhorsemanship.tv right now there is a lady who is dealing with a disrespectful mare who doesnt want to stand in the trailer and who also won't stand while someone is getting on her back. Though this isn't the exact same situation the behavior of the horse and how to treat the problem is the same so I highly recommend you watch it immediately as it will only be there for another couple days. I hope I explained this clearly I'm not great at explaining things on here sometimes I'm more of a show you how kind of person. Hope this helps you can comment or pm me if I need to clarify anything. Also I agree with saddlebag incorporate that with this.
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Last edited by Peppy Barrel Racing; 10-25-2012 at 03:16 PM.
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post #5 of 7 Old 10-25-2012, 03:19 PM
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Just shove his head away. Indie used to rub on me at every given opportunity but after a week or so of me correcting her, she rarely tries anything and lets me bridle her without a fuss. Also, if he tries moving away or even turns towards you by stepping his front legs, just back him up until he's not resisting.
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post #6 of 7 Old 10-25-2012, 03:23 PM
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That video I was talking about at this website Downunder Horsemanship TV is called A Reluctant Star
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post #7 of 7 Old 10-25-2012, 04:09 PM Thread Starter
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We did some ground work today before I put the bridle on and things went a lot smoother. I have watched the Clinton Anderson stuff and there is good stuff in there. When he moves, I put him back where I want him and I go back to work. When he pushes on me, I put my knuckle behind his jaw and put his head back at a respectful distance and then act like nothing happened. Correct then relax.

I did find a claustrophobic aspect to it while doing our ground work today, too. So we worked on circles of varying sizes until I could walk and jog beside him without him getting worried.

I think I am tending to over-react to stuff that I know how to fix because I have never HAD to fix it before. As I said, I have always raised them myself with the oldest one I ever bought before him (not counting the pony) was 3. And I worked for the breeder of the 3yo and did his training before buying him. This guy is overall good natured and just needs structure and for me to stop being offended when he doesn't know how to behave.
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