Bitting a 6 year old who never had his teeth done? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 45 Old 02-20-2019, 09:35 AM
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I agree with @greentree I think he has learned to avoid the bit. My hubbies mare was like this when we first got her and she would try to put her tongue over the bit. This was all due to a really nervous and heavy handed former owner. We used treats to help with bitting. At first we would bring the bridle out and get her to drop her head by putting pressure at her poll we would hold the bit up to her mouth with a treat laying next to the bit. We would not put the bit in. It took juts a few times and she stopped sticking her nose up in the air when she thought you were going to bit her. Then we went to asking her to accept the bit when she was chewing the treat - and that went really well - we eventually moved to sporadic treats and then mostly no treats. She has done really well with this method. She is a taller horse at 15.2H so we needed her to drop her head to be bitted up as I am only 5'8
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post #12 of 45 Old 02-20-2019, 09:54 AM
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Once when I was bridling my mare, I was inadvertently bitten because I had put my thumb in her mouth to help open. Without realizing it, I started bridling too fast (puling the headstall up too fast) after that and finally, when bridling, my mare protested by sticking her nose in the air and refusing the bit. At the time, I didn't realize it had been developing for the last few rides and thought it was a sudden thing. At my next lesson, my trainer advised me I had been pulling her headstall up to fast and banging her teeth, unconsciously trying to avoid being bitten. The trainer's remedy was to back up my mare every time she put her head up to avoid the bit. Then she walked her forward and tried again. It took about 15 minutes of this until she was bridled. Then she was unbridled, and the trainer tried again, taking several tries until she was quietly bridled. When my mare began accepting the bit quietly, it was my turn. I did have to back her up a couple of times, but it went more quickly and I was able to bridle again normally. I have ever since been very careful about bridling. It is really easy to get into am bad habit and not realize it.

If you can correct him in a similar way and see if he is just being difficult about bridling because he can, it is possible it is not his teeth. If he still gives you problem, then yeah, maybe his teeth.
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post #13 of 45 Old 02-20-2019, 09:59 AM
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If it were me, I would just ride in the hackamore until you can have his teeth looked at and not worry about getting him collected for the time being. Meanwhile you can teach him to put his head down for bridling and accept it. If the bit truly is bothering him it could be almost impossible for him to learn to cooperate. At least with the hackamore, you know that there should not be any excuses to be a butt about it.

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post #14 of 45 Old 02-20-2019, 10:53 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by greentree View Post
Teach him to lower his head every time you touch his poll. Just lowering the head may release endorphins. When you add the bridle, keep asking him to lower his head.

Donít discount all the stress that you are under right now. He probably reads that stress as frustration.
I already do this. He knows the command. But when I try to slide in the bit, the head goes up again. Mind you, this horse does like to play games...
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post #15 of 45 Old 02-20-2019, 11:00 AM Thread Starter
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I'll also add that he was never handled roughly. Ever. I know his owner well and she's had him since he was a foal. If anything, he is just very green, and was often ridden in a halter. He was one of many horses she owned, and she just didn't have time to do much training with him. But this is not because of a bad experience from her, and I'm always very gentle when putting on a bridle.

In the end, I think it's best for me to err on the side of caution rather than try to force him to take the bit if it's hurting him. Once his teeth are done, we will work on the bit again. Your suggestions are very useful in doing that. I've already taught him the head down command, but he stops complying as soon as I take out the bit. I'll try offering a treat for just mouthing the bit. He likes to mouth things so it shouldn't be too hard.

Once his teeth are floated, I will know for sure that he's just being a butthead if he refuses. Right now, I can keep working on it, but if it's causing discomfort, I am just teaching him to accept that I will inflict pain on him, which is really not the kind of relationship I want with him.

So for now, I'll stick to bitless until I know for sure that his mouth is ready to accept a bit. It will be a couple of months before we can really do very much anyway, given that winter is still going to hang around for quite some time here.

Thanks all for your comments!
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post #16 of 45 Old 02-20-2019, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by lb27312 View Post
I use the word DROP, I teach them at an early age. Place my hand on the poll and say drop.... at the beginning as soon as they drop any I release the pressure. Just my 2 cents....

Walka is over 16 h, so I also taught him to lower his head for bridling and haltering. I ask with a "head down" and he complies. If I were to use drop, something else will lower as I taught him to drop for sheath cleaning.

I think I'd stick with the hackamore for now and practice the drop/head down for later bridling use.

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post #17 of 45 Old 02-20-2019, 12:20 PM
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I would personally check for wolf teeth and feel around and inspect the teeth the best I could.

Then, to be sure this isn't development of a new habit I would get him to accept the bit. If he is putting his head up then I am not sure your right hand and arm are in the right spot, because if they are between his ears over his poll then he should be hitting your arm, and you can push his head back down. Just hold steady till he calms down, puts his head down and opens up.

I would just try putting the bit in a few times over a few days, but not necessarily ride him in it. You could easily put the bridle and bit on, then put a halter over it and use the halter to steer and stop him. This way he is just holding the bit in his mouth, and I don't see how that could hurt him unless he has wolf teeth.

This way I think you will cover all the bases of squashing a potential habit that could arise from either dental problems, or just cause, but it will also give you peace of mind knowing that you are not hurting him until you can call out a dentist for all your horses.
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post #18 of 45 Old 02-20-2019, 12:57 PM
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You can appeciate this being in Canada AA and youíve probably already taken care of it but a bit can be pretty cold this time of year. I donít put mine in until it feels warm to the touch with my bare hands.
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post #19 of 45 Old 02-20-2019, 02:00 PM
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Simple solution for cold bits, bring bridle in the house. Thats what I've been doing. I take bridle out when we are saddled up and ready to go...bits warm and goes in horse's mouths.
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post #20 of 45 Old 02-20-2019, 03:43 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by rambo99 View Post
Simple solution for cold bits, bring bridle in the house. Thats what I've been doing. I take bridle out when we are saddled up and ready to go...bits warm and goes in horse's mouths.
It's -30C. Even if I brought it in, by the time I finally get him to take it, it will be cold again. And yes, I warm it with my hands.
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