Help with Bridle Training
 
 

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Help with Bridle Training

This is a discussion on Help with Bridle Training within the Natural Horsemanship forums, part of the Training Horses category
  • Training with no bit bridle
  • Training a horse to use a bridle

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  • 2 Post By HanginH
  • 1 Post By Prinella
  • 3 Post By nrhareiner

 
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    06-04-2012, 11:13 AM
  #1
Weanling
Help with Bridle Training

My horse has been willing and able so far on everything I've asked of him. I started introducing the bridle to him yesterday and he doesn't mind it until you go to put it over his head, past his eyes. He is about 3.5 yrs old and I started him on Clinton Andersons methods of a headshy horse as soon as I got him because I noticed he wouldn't let me touch his ears. After following the methods we gained alot of trust and respect and anyone can touch his ears and rub his face, and so forth. It took an hour but I managed to get one piece over an ear and he let it hang there. He doesn't care about it really its just getting this new leathery object out of his sight. If its my hand or the halter he is fine. I know consistency is key so I am going to continue doing our lunging exercises and then working on touching him with it as much as possible. Is there anything else I can do to get the message across better? I have had both english and western saddles on him so we are well past acceptance on those. Now its just the bridle and bit.
     
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    06-04-2012, 06:47 PM
  #2
Foal
Let me start by saying I have almost zero headshy experience.but some advice I have is maybe start with a bitless bridle, one less thing to worry about as he gets used to the bridle itsself,and keeping his head turned into you may help
     
    06-04-2012, 06:55 PM
  #3
Weanling
Once the bridle is on leave it there a couple days- Take the reins off and let the horse get use to it. I imagine your using a super easy snaffle, of some sort, so it wont hurt him to leave it there. My experiance is that they become indifferent to the bit and bridle- after a couple days. I recommend adjusting the bridle every day making sure he knows its there ect.

And they will also learn to put their tounge in the right place- Bonus!

Also continue to put weird objects by his head it good for his brain-
Good luck
     
    06-05-2012, 09:23 AM
  #4
Weanling
Ok. I will surely keep trying:) Thanks
     
    06-05-2012, 11:12 AM
  #5
Foal
Something I do with my colts when they are getting bridled for the first few times is just to go about putting the bridle on like I would a broke horse but then instead of putting the bit in their mouth I just put it behind their jaw then put the bridle on over their ears. Allows for a bit more room to get it up and over their head so its not cramping their ears as much. I will then just pull it off and do it over again till they get used to me handling their ears and having it go on and off. Once they are fine with that then I just work on trying to get the bit into their mouth.
Like others have said leaving it on for awhile is never a bad idea either that way they learn how to pack the bit in their mouth.

Good luck and keep at it and I am sure you will get it down.
loosie and tinyliny like this.
     
    06-05-2012, 11:38 PM
  #6
Yearling
A technique I've used is to take the bit off so you have a 'floppy' bridle. You can then slide what's left of your bridle up and over the eyes and ears, even attaching a nose band.

The point if doing it this way I if he's worried about the ears you don't have to add a bit yet. Once he's comfortable pop the bit on and see how he goes.
loosie likes this.
     
    06-08-2012, 08:45 PM
  #7
Foal
We start a lot of young horses, some with headshy issues and this is the method we use to teach them to be bridled.

Firstly, well done for sorting your horse's head shy problems!

We use clicker training to reward them for fristly touching the bit, then letting it rest on their teeth and then opening their mouth and then sitting on their tongue and then finally staying in their mouth. Because they associate the bit with food they start to lower their head and open their mouth for it. And because they are focussed on getting the food, they don't notice the headpiece going over their ears. The first time we leave the bit in they get antsy because it feels weird and it takes time for them to get used to the feel of it on their tongue etc. It usually takes two to three 10 minute sessions to get to leaving it in.

We ignore the chomping and let them for about 15 mins, then we start using it by leading them off a halter and then asking them to stop with the bit- very gently obviously. We do three to five stops and then take it off and call it a day. By using it in this way they habituate to it very quickly and the chomping stops, usually within one to three sessions.

We repeat the whole sequence each time and very quickly the horse will lower its head and open its mouth for the bit, because the sight of bit and the feel of the bridle coming up over their face has become a cue for that behaviour. And because they want the food they don't trial things such as head tossing or throwing which means they never learn these behaviours for avoiding getting a bridle put on.

Once they are reliably lowering and opening we fade out the food over a few sessions.

There is absolutely nothing to be gained by leaving a bridle on for several days- it will not teach your horse to be easier to bridle becasue it is not teaching the horse the required behaviour for having the bridle put on (head lowering and mouth opening).
     
    06-13-2012, 03:25 AM
  #8
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by KissTheRing    
Once the bridle is on leave it there a couple days- Take the reins off and let the horse get use to it.
I wouldn't do/advise that in a pink fit! I do this with a halter, but only one tied on with half thickness balers twine, so if they get hung up it breaks easily without hurting them. I do agree with just allowing them to wear a bit for periods of time to get them used to it, but would never leave them unsupervised, or leave them wearing a bit long term either - ouch, the pressure on those uncallousable mucous membranes of the bars!

Agree with Hangin & Prinella about getting them used to the headpiece. If the horse is too uncomfortable with that to begin with, I'd start just desensitising him to rubbing the strap across his eye & ear first. Also agree with cory that c/t tactics are invaluable.
     
    06-13-2012, 11:41 AM
  #9
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by KissTheRing    
Once the bridle is on leave it there a couple days- Take the reins off and let the horse get use to it. I imagine your using a super easy snaffle, of some sort, so it wont hurt him to leave it there. My experiance is that they become indifferent to the bit and bridle- after a couple days. I recommend adjusting the bridle every day making sure he knows its there ect.

And they will also learn to put their tounge in the right place- Bonus!

Also continue to put weird objects by his head it good for his brain-
Good luck

All I can say to this is NO Never leave a bit and or bridle on a horse when they are not attended by a human. Best way to get your horse hurt.
     
    06-13-2012, 11:45 AM
  #10
Trained
I have found that a good way to get a horse use to having something move over their head and ears is to take a lead rope put a few loops in it and them rub it over their head and over their ears. I do this with all my foals when they are learning to be haltered. This helps them get use to things moving over their head and ears yet is easy to remove and slide off if needed.
     

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