My mare has always been funny about her ears. She doesnt like them being touched and never has. I ride her in a single ear bridle and usually as long as im quick and discrete about it it isnt a problem and even if she does notice its never a big blowup.
Well she's been out to pasture for the last three weeks or so and I have somewhere to take her in three or four days so i decided it was time to get her out and excercise her again. I had her all saddled and lunged and got her in the arena and didnt shut the door and i took her halter off and got the bit in her mouth and as soon as i went to put the bridle over her ear she FREAKED. She shoved her head away from me and then took off running... down the road. (Good thing i live in the country...) Well i caught her and decided i would lunge her until she let me put it on but that never did happen. Im starting to think there might be something wrong with her ear and its hurting her in some way. She woulnt let me get close enough to see.
She let me take the bridle apart and put it on, as long as i didnt put her ear in the loop. What is my next step here? What could be causing problems like this? Ear mites perhaps? Or is she just being hateful? Would it be a bad thing to just take the earpiece off the bridle and use it without an earpiece?
Could definitely be ear mites, she could have an infection, does she live in a wet area or have lots of hair inside her ears? I'd check with a vet.
Another thought I had - is she out with other horses? Could she have nagged her ear on something? Normally if a horse is feeling afraid for any reason, or defensive in any way their ears and their underbelly are the two places they'll defend to the end.
If a Vet clears her and says there's nothing physically wrong it sounds like you need some ground work.
How I'd do it:
Start by rubbing her shoulder or neck and rub in a way that feels good and relaxing, not like a fly tickle or an invigorating scratch. Rub up and down her neck slowly, with her on lead standing quietly, not on cross ties or loose. Watch her signs very closely, rub in the direction of her ears, the moment she gets nervous tell her it's alright and go back somewhere more comfortable, repeat this process each time moving inches closer. Move away until she's calm then work into her less comfortable places. Practice this over her entire body too. When you get to touch her ears be quick about it, do a quick rub over her ears then back to rubbing softly on her neck, don't put stress on it by making it a slow painful process of touching her ears. Rub her neck up to the base of her ears then swipe your hand over then back to soft rubbing where she likes it. Eventually she'll get over this if there's no physical issue.
A more assertive way of doing this, if you think her ear shy problem is caused out of disrespect not fear:
Have her on a lunge line. Practice rubbing her neck, gently go towards her ears, if she reacts by pulling away or being fresh send her out and make her work. Practice her backing, yielding front and hind ends. Work her bum off until she realizes it's easier to stand quietly for her ears being touched than to have to work so hard.
Try whichever of those methods you think more applies to your horse - Assuming there is no physical reason, you should consult a vet though.
I would bet $$ that the sensitivity is due to bug bites. She probably won't stand for you to treat them even with sedation. Get a fly mask with ears on it and give her 3-4 days for the sores to heal before messing with her ears.
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Ticks, ticks, ticks, ticks, ticks ... and in case you missed it .. check for TICKS.
It is that time of year .. especially in Texas. Had the same experience with my mare about 4 years ago .. they were DEEP in her ears. .. she went NUTS..
Oh gosh! Its been raining for almost two weeks straight, her ears are fuzzy, and yes she was with other horses. Sounds like a vet visit is in order!
I truely dont feel like it is her groundwork. Its never been much of a problem before. She comes from an abuse/neglect situation and besides not liking them being handled as long as you dont let her realize your messing with her ears she's fine.
Were about to haul her to the vet to see what he says. he said it either sounded like a tick or an infection and he's going to mildly sedate her to see whats going on.
Would it be helpful to get her a flymask with ears AFTER she's doing better? Would it lessen the chance of eye damage or getting ticks in her ears after she's cleared of whatever this is?
yes it would be great help.. that way no bugs CAN get in there
Bck from the vets. She had ticks in her ears. He had to sedate her and twitch her but she felt a whole lot better afterwards. he gave me some medicine to keep the bugs away and some meds to put in her ears. She was already letting me handle them a bit more than she was thank goodness.
Poor girl! Sounds miserable! Hope she'll feel better now those nasty things are gone!
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