Tip: New technique for ear shyness (new to me at least) - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 08-31-2011, 11:14 AM Thread Starter
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Tip: New technique for ear shyness (new to me at least)

We have a rescued OTTB (now rising 5) who had a terrible ear shy problem. Clearly he had been ear twitched at some point and any attempt to touch, rub, hold, look at his ears would result in evasion and fear. I tried desensitizing him, but hadn't been able to spend enough time to overcome the memory.

He, being a Thoroughbred, is also thin skinned, so we had major fly problems this year and we bought him a new fly mask with ears. He'd been wearing a "regular" mask (no ears), so he didn't really react to the new mask.

Now, no ear shyness (took about 4 days). In fact, he likes getting his ears rubbed!

Just a new tool in my training bag.
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post #2 of 11 Old 08-31-2011, 11:47 AM
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How cool!!! Yeah my horse was ear shy and I got him an ear bonnet... oh he loooves it :) And now he's fine with his ears and such.

I've been thinking about getting him a flymask with ears because he's never worn one. We'll see how it goes
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post #3 of 11 Old 08-31-2011, 11:51 AM
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Heh, never thought of that! I will definitely have to remember that one!
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post #4 of 11 Old 08-31-2011, 11:55 AM
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That could be helpful! My boy is not really ear shy as head shy so I may try this. I do have a fly mask with ears.

LOL I put it on my gelding Red on day. He turned and looked at Sarge who was at his hip. It scared the beejeesus out of Sarge and he spooked and turned so fast it was hilarious. It really cranked him up. I had to run up to the barn to get something and my husband was dying laughing when I got back. He said Sarge tried to mount Red which really ticked Red off. I found the fly mask out in the pasture the next day and never put it back on him again. Red and Sarge were not masked rangers at all!!!
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post #5 of 11 Old 09-01-2011, 04:41 PM
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That was a very good idea!

I got a 2 year old stallion over his fear of his butt being touched by putting sheet on him. Did the same thing. Once he realized the sheet wasn't hurting him, he realized I wouldn't either. Now his favorite spot to be scratched is his butt. :)
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post #6 of 11 Old 09-02-2011, 03:42 AM
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I'm gonna try that! I've had my mare since she was little, and have tried desensitizing her and I NEVER swat at her face or ears (well at flies, but never to discipline her) and she absolutely hates me touching her ears! I started getting into halter showing her and its a pain to do her ears!!!
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post #7 of 11 Old 09-02-2011, 05:14 AM
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Great tip, thanks! If anyone even thinks about touching the inside of Shannon's ears all heck breaks loose. I'll definitely look into buying one with ears.


You can tell a gelding. You can ask a stallion. But you must discuss it with a mare. -Unknown
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post #8 of 11 Old 09-02-2011, 07:19 AM
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I wonder if your horse's ear shyness was pain related. Fly bites and other critters in the ears can make them very painful to touch. Keeping the biting critters out may have decreased the irritation.

Thanks for that tip!!!
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post #9 of 11 Old 09-02-2011, 08:21 AM
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Hmm, never thought of that. I might have to try that with Molls.
Thanks!
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post #10 of 11 Old 09-02-2011, 12:07 PM
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A horse being ear shy or head shy doesn't mean that there has been a twitch of any kind on it or that it was beaten or abused. I have used an ear twitch and if done correctly there is no reason the horse would be ear shy. More often (and I think in this case) the horse gets bugs in its ears or biting flies cause sores that make it uncomfortable.

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