when I try to bridle her she puts her head up? - Page 2
 
 

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when I try to bridle her she puts her head up?

This is a discussion on when I try to bridle her she puts her head up? within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

     
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        10-24-2007, 04:11 PM
      #11
    Foal
    Thanks
         
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        10-24-2007, 04:46 PM
      #12
    Foal
    By the time I put a bit on a horse the 2nd or 3rd time I can do it on my knees if I want to. 2 important things to get there. They need to know how to put their head down and keep it there when told and they need to be used to having their mouth handled.

    It was touched on in an above post but first teach her to bring her head down. Apply pressure to the rope and wait. When she gets tired of the pressure she will start moving her head around. If it goes up apply slightly more pressure and the second she drops it even the tiniest bit completely let go of the rope. Increase the time she has to keep it down by still releasing but now stopping her by reapplying pressure if she starts to pick her head up again. Keep going lower and lower for longer until you are sitting on the ground and her head stays there even if you let go of the rope.

    Now start petting her everywhere. Start with places that don't bother her much like the cheek or forehead and work your way to the ears and nose. When she stays still tell her she's good, give a treat if you want (I don't use treats much), pet her neck, and occasionally walk her around so she doesn't have to stay in the same position too long. When you can pet her everywhere start rubbing her mouth and sticking your fingers into her mouth. Same thing. If she starts to put her head back up then stop her and ask her to bring it down before repeating what you did that bothered her. If she stays still give her a reward and release her to lift her head or walk around for a minute.

    It may take a few days but you should now be able to ask her to bring her head down and rub the inside of her mouth where the bit rests without her lifting her head out of reach. Now get a bridle. Ask her to bring her head down to your level and slowly bring the bit up to her mouth. Do not bang it against her teeth at any point. Use the same method as above where if she moves you put her back in position and repeat and if she doesn't you praise and move on. Keep at it until you can hold the bit near her mouth without her trying to avoid it and then slide it into her mouth again being careful not to bang any teeth. If you need to you can lightly step on the rope (leave it slightly loose) and use both hands on the bit and her mouth to make sure it goes in smoothly. That way she still runs into pressure if she starts to pick her head up and you have time to get a hand back on the rope to bring her head down again but you don't want to be holding her head down with constant pressure. Also go slow and be careful not to bang her teeth when taking the bridle off. A couple times of bridling like that and unless there is a medical issue you've missed you should no longer have any trouble reaching her mouth. Like I said I can bridle even the 3year old while on my knees.
         
        10-25-2007, 05:15 PM
      #13
    Started
    I posted the following response on this same issue on another forum.

    "No horse is taller then the tip of his ears when his nose is touching the ground." Pat Parelli

    ^^ That is an amazing quote full of truth! Your horse obviously doesn't like something involving the bridle. How many wrinkles do you have in her mouth? Do you have a cavesson, flash, etc? Do you always ride with contact? Do you pull her to stop?

    You need to teach her the 'head down' cue. With her halter on, LIGHTLY press down on her poll and then SLOWLY increase the pressure, but don't push down harder! When she makes an attempt to drop her head, even a fraction of an inch, release and rub her. Get this good enough where you can ask her to lower her head all the way to the ground.

    The next step is to halter her from your knees This can be VERY frustrating for people because this task really shows the person how unconfident the horse is with them. You HAVE to have patience, and if you feel yourself getting frustrated, just stop and rub your horse. You will be amazed at how haltering from your knees will improve your relationship.

    Now I would get her used to you touching her muzzle area. Make sure she is confident, and make it an enjoyable experience for her.

    Now, for the bridling....you have to have a solid and consistant 'head down' cue for this to work. Ask her to lower her head, and put the bridle in your right hand. With your left hand, place the bit under her chin. Place your right elbow on her neck and don't let your elbow leave her neck. If she puts her head up, stick with her the best you can and ask her to lower her head again, but don't be forceful. Be calm, polite, and sensitive. Now, place your left thumb inside her mouth to get her to open up. Gently push the bit into her mouth, and at the same time lift up with your right hand to raise the bridle. Make sure you don't clank her teeth. From here you want to fold her left ear over and gently push it through the headstall. Now fold the right ear over and place it through the headstall. This is the polite way to bridle a horse.

    To take the bridle off, push the headstall over her right ear, then her left. Hold the bridle in your right hand again, and with your left hand hold the bit and slowly and gently time it to where you can take the bit out of her mouth without clanking it on her teeth.
         
        10-25-2007, 08:51 PM
      #14
    Foal
    Thanks
         
        10-26-2007, 10:54 AM
      #15
    Foal
    I got my OTTB 13 year old mare Shiloh last year. She had extreme mouth issues, and no one could get within 6 inches of her mouth. One night last December we wanted to do a Christmas portrait for our holiday cards that included me on Shiloh. That attempt turned into a nightmare. Within a half hour she had freaked out & twice pulled back violently snapping 2 leads & literally running away from us. I got so discouraged I was almost ready to rehome her.

    I knew if I was ever going to ride this horse, I had to work on the mouth problem. After some time of rubbing her face all over & eventually moving down near her mouth, she began to accept the touch. She loves to be kissed, so I found kissing around her mouth made her so much more accepting....and within a short time I was able to touch her lips & look inside at her teeth. Major accomplishment for this girl ! The bit was still another story. She still threw that head up & backed away.....so this war was still not quite over. My 6 year old OTTB gelding Tino was the exact same. Bridles were just out of the question....

    I know some will argue it's a very bad practice.....but it worked immediately & even works better now. I dip the bit in applesauce, and I also hold one of those hard apple treats under the bit in my left hand. Both Shiloh and my gelding sniff to make sure something is there & they open their mouths to take the bit/treat on their own. I gently slip the bit in WITH the apple treat....and while I fiddle getting the bridle adjusted, they munch on the goodie. I then give them another apple treat for taking the bit.

    When I remove the bridle, I first pull the treat from my pocket so they are focused on that, and then I pull the bridle over their ears while putting the treat hand below waist height.....when they lower their head to my hand I start letting the bit drop & they push it out with their tongue and it doesn't hit their teeth. Once the bit is out I give them another apple treat.

    A few months ago I had 2 horses who trotted away avoiding me when they saw the bridle....and I can't even describe when they are like now. When one or both see me with it over my shoulder, they are all over me as if to say "can I wear it, can I wear it....is it MY turn ????" If they both see it at the same time I have a hard time getting the one I want to work with alone. Tino is very headstrong & fights anything he really does not want to do, but now if he sees the bridle on my shoulder he follows me into the round pen & hovers around me while I close & lock the gate....and then follows me very closely over to the rail where I put the applesauce & waits while I dip it. When he sees the apple treat emerging from my pocket, he already has his head in position....and the bit is in within 3 seconds. The same goes for Shiloh.

    It is so funny to see......when I work with Shiloh in the round pen, Tino stands with his head over the rails as if to say "hey, why can't I wear it today ???"

    Sometimes you have to do what works.....and if everyone is happy & relaxed, then it certainly works for me

         
        10-26-2007, 11:22 AM
      #16
    Foal
    Btw.....I forgot to mention.....I often just bridle them & let them leisurely walk around with it for a half hour to an hour. This way they don't always associate it with work. Even now when they eagerly take it, I still let them relax wearing it. Seems to make everything go even smoother....
         
        10-26-2007, 04:03 PM
      #17
    Foal
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jazzyrider
    stand there with the halter on her for a while and gently pull down on her lead rope. As soon as she gives and brings her head down stop. Pull and release, pull and release etc once she brings her head down, give her a treat and bring the bridle to her. If she puts her head up again, do the same thing until she is relaxed and leaves her head there.

    You may get different suggestions but this is one way you could try and relax her and get her head down. Usually once you have her that relaxed, you should be able to slip the bridle over. It may take some time but this is what I would suggest. This method has worked wonders for me with my warmblood :)

    Good luck :)
    I second this! It's always better to train a horse to respect you than coerce them with treats. I'm working with a horse who has the same problem - he's a little wary around the head. One of the things I'm learning is that there are two important techniques to training horses: 1. Pressure=motivation 2. Release=teaching. By pulling gently on the halter or pressing down with your hand on her poll, you are providing motivation to put her head down. As soon as she shows the slightest effort, releasing the pressure immediately will teach her how to make the discomfort go away and she'll learn to lower her head at the slightest touch. The same principle works with leg yields, reins, everything. It's done wonders with the horse I'm working with, and it's a lasting lesson when done a step at a time and with patience. Good luck!
         
        10-26-2007, 07:47 PM
      #18
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by regardinghorses
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jazzyrider
    stand there with the halter on her for a while and gently pull down on her lead rope. As soon as she gives and brings her head down stop. Pull and release, pull and release etc once she brings her head down, give her a treat and bring the bridle to her. If she puts her head up again, do the same thing until she is relaxed and leaves her head there.

    You may get different suggestions but this is one way you could try and relax her and get her head down. Usually once you have her that relaxed, you should be able to slip the bridle over. It may take some time but this is what I would suggest. This method has worked wonders for me with my warmblood :)

    Good luck :)
    I second this! It's always better to train a horse to respect you than coerce them with treats. I'm working with a horse who has the same problem - he's a little wary around the head. One of the things I'm learning is that there are two important techniques to training horses: 1. Pressure=motivation 2. Release=teaching. By pulling gently on the halter or pressing down with your hand on her poll, you are providing motivation to put her head down. As soon as she shows the slightest effort, releasing the pressure immediately will teach her how to make the discomfort go away and she'll learn to lower her head at the slightest touch. The same principle works with leg yields, reins, everything. It's done wonders with the horse I'm working with, and it's a lasting lesson when done a step at a time and with patience. Good luck!
    this is very true. My wb only needs to hear you say 'head down' these days and he puts his head down.

    One thing I do want to say is that I agree with the thing about the bit hitting teeth to a certain degree. I don't think this can be taken as the reason why she is doing this. There are a number of different reasons horses raise their heads to avoid the bridle. And there are certainly more horses than not that have the bit smashed into their teeth all the time and never do anything to refuse the bridle. I think you need to figure out what it is about your mare that makes her dislike the bridle. Whichever way, you still need to get her to relax and respect you. Through this a want to do what you ask because she loves you will arise :)
         

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