I've had my boy for a good year and a half now, and we have a qualifying show for Arabian Nationals in the next few weeks and my trainer INSISTS that he be impeccably groomed. And of course, that means the ears too. The problem is, he barely lets me touch his ears. I can touch the outside with some work getting up to it, but he throws his head if I try to rub the inside. I was wondering if anyone had any advice on how to go about this without any horrible experiences for anyone! :D
Subbing, I have the same problem! My boy has a tracer clip right now, and a set of fuzzy wooly ears :lol:
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If you cant even handle his ears then clipping them without either sedation or some form of restraint like a twitch is going to be almost impossible until you've got him totally confident about having them touched
I've worked on our ID mare who had serious ear phobia issues by doing a little and often thing - just short light strokes of my hand to being with and gradually building up the time I spend on them. I do reward her with a treat for good behaviour (I only use treats for rewards in these sort of learning things and not as a general all the time thing so they see them as something special)
We think she may have had her ears twitched in the past as we found that she actually enjoys having the inside and outside of her ears scratched with a stiff brush - its only when you tried to actually hold her ears that the troubles started
The small quiet cordless clippers are best for this job and be sure the blades are really good.
The only thing I suggest is doing lots of work on his face. Just groom and rub all over, then slowly work up to ears. Maybe have him tied and get someone to hold the lead. I'm not sure, haven't had this problem really....sorry :x
A good handler that knows how to behave around horses works better as long as you call all the shots.
Most horses can be desensitized to clippers to a degree, if all else fails, you can twitch them and get the job done. I go through the desensitizing of the ears with every grooming session but if I have to clip the ears before a show and the horse is moving around too much, I just twitch and finish the job. Can't have their ears looking like a drunk rat worked 'em over. My show gelding now after twitching few times, decided to just be still and let me clip.
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Get busy now, gently massing his ears several times a day and you're most likely still not going to get him de-sensitized by clipping day but he may tolerate the clippers IF you buy the Wahl fit-in-your-palm battery operated clippers. They are only around $20 and will do a terrific job.
I would not tie him, you don't need two hands to massage ears.
Buy one of those dog hair mits at Walmart and start massaging his ears on the outside, slowly working your way to the inside.
Don't make eye contact - I have noticed my ear sensitive horses do a lot better if I reach up to their ears while I am looking down at the floor.
Even my worst "ear horse" will let me clean his ears out as long as we are not making eye contact.
I don't understand, but it works.
Most importantly, you need to be fussing with this horse's ears at least three times a day --- if you're in school or working, get up extra early and get to the barn if the show is that important. There are no magic bullets unless you want to drug the horse and that's not a good idea if they test at the show :-P
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