Teaching horse to be bridled
Hey! So there's a horse I've been riding for the last month and may end up buying in the next couple weeks. He's a 6 year old TB that was trained to race but never had any starts because he didn't have the competitive drive. Since then he's had approximately 30 hours riding time, and that's being generous (that's what the current owners said). They got him as a yearling and he's been able to just grow and be a horse for the last 5 years. He's been doing well since I've been working him and riding him in a lesson once a week. The main problem I'm facing, however, is that he's not the greatest at being bridled. He was initially decent (not the greatest) but out of the blue yesterday he was horrible to bridle. I have his head next to my right shoulder with my right hand gently placed on his face. He clenches his teeth together and when I put my thumb in the corner of his mouth, he opens it but then either jerks his head up or to the side away from the bridle. I've trained a horse to be bridled before but that horse was a mellow draft cross and was super easy.
In addition to being sort of bad at being bridled, he gets anxious about being unbridled. I want to take the bit out slowly so it doesn't bang his teeth but the second I take his ears out of the bridle, he jerks back quickly to get the bit out. I'll hold it a certain way so it isn't totally ripped out of his mouth but it still clicks against his teeth harder than I want. I've taken it slowly. I'll unbuckle the throat latch. If he gets antsy, I stop and wait until he calms down before unbuckling the chin strap. If he gets antsy again, I will wait til he is calm before taking the bridle off... It seems like this isn't entirely working either since he still steps back and tries to pull his head quickly out of the bridle.
Any ideas or suggestions?