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horse_luver4e 10-06-2007 01:10 PM

Bridle Problem
My horse has recently found a new trick. It's called 'lets see how high I can hold my head out of my owners reach when the bridle comes into veiw!' :?
Simply put she can't stand to have the bridle on (she knows it means she's gonna work) so what can I do? It takes 3 people and a stud chain to get it on! :x lol I use to just be able to slip it right over her head.
Oh and the pressure thing, where you put your hand at the top of there head to bring it down, yeah she knows that but she puts it so low she touches the ground. :roll:
please help! :cry:

BluMagic 10-06-2007 01:28 PM

Boo does that sometimes. All I do is put my arm over his poll and put the bridle on. The only thing I can think of for you is to tie her head lower/higher or in tighter cross-ties...I knew a horse that held his head high. We tried to pull his head down he put it up higher and I was hanging from his neck! Anyways, that was all I could think of...sorry! :oops:

Vidaloco 10-06-2007 01:32 PM

I think I have posted this before on another thread but here goes. I give a horse treat every time I put the bit in her mouth. Hold the cookie in your hand with the bit so she can smell it. Bit goes in first then cookie. If you have to, stick your thumb into the side of her mouth and she will open it. I'm not big on giving horse treats but when she get the bit she get the cookie EVERY TIME. I never have trouble having her take the bit. She will lower her head turn to me and practically put the bit in herself.

Spirithorse 10-06-2007 05:17 PM

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 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.

horse_luver4e 10-07-2007 12:18 PM

okay thanx guys but I knew you guys would say this. I know it's not the bridle. she used to do this with the halter. She knows it means work and avoids it. like i said she knows the 'head down' cue but exagerates it and throws her head every which way to avoid the bridle, I also put my thumb in the side of her mouth it used to work but shes gotten too smart for that. That is why this is complicated. The reason she has gotten better with the halter is becuase I put it on her then leave her alone instead of cross tying her right away so I was thinking put on the bridle (well try to) then take it off and repeat? maybe that will work? sorry to sound impossible guys, but this horse is unbelivibly smart! lol I heard of horses running from you when they know it's time to work but she comes right up to me, then shys away when you try to put on the bridle. :roll: thanx for the other avise though, I'll try that halter on your knees Spirithorse, but I just don't know what else to do.

xkatex 10-07-2007 12:31 PM

Teeth issue?
Sounds like you have one smart horse on your hands. Is she a head strong horse? Is she hard to handle while riding? Perhaps, and only if your an experience rider, clip two lead ropes on either side of her halter and ride her bitless. Or have someone lead her the first few times. And just try to switch it up a bit. I know my horse loves going out to ride bitless.

Did your horse have an issue before this started. Like did she hit her head after the bridle was put on? Perhaps the bit is clanging against her teeth. Have a vet come by and check to see if its that cause its a definate possiblity. I know you say your horse is trying to aviod work but honestly if she didnt want to work, she would be showing more signs when your riding her. Get her teeth checked then let us know what happens :)

Spirithorse 10-07-2007 12:57 PM

In my own opinion, I believe that horses rarely refuse the bridle or refuse to be caught simply because they don't want to work. There is a deeper issue, and this behavior is only a symptom, not the actual issue at hand. Horses, in my opinion, love having jobs. But the horse has to feel safe, comfortable, and be confident in the person and their abilities.

I would also agree with having her teeth checked. Maybe she has some points or rims that are bothering her. But, I wouldn't just have any old vet or dentist out to look at her. I would HIGHLY recommend that you get Spencer LaFlure, or one of his certified dentists, out to look at her. Spencer has a different approach to floating teeth, and no one else will ever touch my horse's mouth. The results I have had, along with our friends, have been amazing and immediate. His website is

I think you are on the right track, in reference to you putting the bridle on and then taking it off. I was actually going to suggest that next lol. When people get direct lined in their thinking, meaning that we have a goal (to catch the horse, tie them up, saddle/bridle them, ride) then we sometimes get tunnel vision and this is not what horses need us to do. They need us to take our time and pay attention to EVERYTHING, like their emotions and body language. Your horse does sound very smart, and she knows that your goal is to bridle her. So now, because you have become direct lined in your thinking, she says, "Watch me interrupt that!" But this is not bad behavior. This is just her "horseonality." I know many horses who have this kind of horseonality....they are extremely smart, always plotting and thinking lol. So your job now is to be unpredictable, but in a fun and interesting way. Horses like this pick up our patterns sooo quickly, and they then come up with strategies to foil our plans. Some horses, more extreme ones with this kind of horseonality, will throw HUGE tantrums in the form of rearing, bucking, striking,'s just because they are the dominant type. Again, this is not bad behavior. You just have to learn how to deal with this type of horse and how to turn that negative output of energy into something positive and constructive, without punishing her or making her feel wrong. So by putting the bridle on and taking it off, and doing that until she is calm, you are going to blow her mind. And then, to make it even better, DON'T RIDE THAT DAY! Take her out to graze instead. Honestly, if she were my horse, I would not ride her until the bridling issue is solved. I would invest in the time to making sure she is 100% ok with me bridling her, and I would put my principles in front of my goals. That way I set myself, and my horse, up for success.

horse_luver4e 10-07-2007 10:11 PM

Yeah I'm going to put it on and take it off but I do belive it's nothing severe or phisical she is smart, 3, and doesn't want to be ridden! lol Horses are naturally lazy. lol
oh and xkatex this is why this horse is so 'deep' lol she is extreamly soft in the mouth. No problems she does play with the bit alot but then stops, it's becuase she's young and mouthy.

AKPaintLover 10-08-2007 08:06 PM

I posted this response to JayDee's post about the same thing:

If there are no teeth/health is not surprising that a three year old is testing you...he is seeing just what he can get away with and how things work. He is learning

Two suggestions:

First, teach your horse to give to pressure at the poll. Start by touching his whithers and then running your hand all the way up his crest until you reach the area right in between his ears. apply light pressure at that spot until he gives at all in a downward direction. If he doesn't lower his head within about 3 seconds, increase pressure. Keep increasing pressure until he gives downward. Do this without a bridle in hand. Do this action over and over (starting by touching the withers) until he lowers his head when you touch his withers. When he is doing this consistantly, try to bridle him this way.

Second, When he knows how to lower his head for you, bring him into a round pen or other small enclosure to bridle. Have him lower the head with the above method. Then begin to bridle him. If he begins to move away or raise his head AT ALL drive him away from you and drive him at at least a trot around the round pen. you can drive him a bit each direction or one way, the point is to drive him and make him work. After some work (it varies depending on the horse) bring him back into the middle (it is best if when you quit driving him, he turns to face you and comes to you). Try bridling again, and again if he moves or resists at all make him work. What you are trying to do is give him the opportunity to make the choice to do what you are asking. You are giving him the choice: stand quietly or work. Let him make that choice - don't force him to bridle by tying him short if you can help it. I have met a few horses who I would not like to see their reaction if I tied them short and forced something on them - I can visualized injured horse, person, and property! You can use this same method with saddling, and I would. I would not tolerate him moving at all when you saddle. If you use the round pen method you can teach him to saddle without moving and without being haltered or tied up.Teach him to choose to stand quietly for all that you do.

If you do not have a round pen or similar enclosure, you might be able to accomplish the same result by putting him on a lunge line in the arena or in the open....though I think that takes away the affect of his freedom to make the right choice just a little bit.

This method will likely take a some time and a lot of repetition, but I have been successful with is with a number of horses, and the results are so, so nice!

NOTE: Sorry if some of this does not apply to you (the saddling thinkg), but it was such a similar problem, why re-type it :). Also, it is not necessarily not wanting to be ridden, so much as tesing you to see what she can get away with. 2-4 years old just seems to be the testing ages. :) Just try to make riding as fun as possible for her, while still teaching her what she needs to learn - always end on a really good note.

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