My horse is ear sensitive while trying to bridle - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 10-06-2015, 05:48 PM Thread Starter
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My horse is ear sensitive while trying to bridle

Hello Everyone,
I have a horse that seems to be ear sensitive, especially his right ear, when attempting to put his bridle on. He takes the bit just fine but when I try to reach up to put the headset over his ears, he raises his head up farther and farther, and then the bit ends up falling out, and I have to start all over again.
Plus, I'm only 5'2" which doesn't help. Any suggestions? Thank you.
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post #2 of 11 Old 10-06-2015, 06:05 PM
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Can you touch and handle his ears otherwise? If so, he is not ear sensitive, he is avoiding bridling.
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post #3 of 11 Old 10-08-2015, 07:52 PM
Green Broke
 
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Aural plaque? Ticks in ears? Fly bites?

Need to check his ears to see if any of the above are present.

http://www.novickdvm.com/auralplaques.htm
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post #4 of 11 Old 10-17-2015, 03:00 AM
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I would think if you can touch his ears but not put a bridle on him and he's just been stubborn to the bridal. Have them to stand I would put a rope around his neck and do repetitive motion over and over and over putting the bridal on let it go over his ears, put it on his head etc. repetition repetition repetition
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post #5 of 11 Old 10-20-2015, 09:54 PM
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I am short as well, 5 ft nothing, so I understand.
You need to get your horse to drop its head, give to pressure.
You can google how to do this, and practice with putting a halter on and off. You want to get it so the top of their head doesn't go higher than your shoulder.
You may also want to try and bring the ear forward gently into the bridle, instead of having the ears shoved backward and then popping back forward.
My current horse was hard to bridle at first, but after asking her to drop her head (which in itself relaxes a horse) I find she no longer fights and is much more accepting.
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post #6 of 11 Old 10-21-2015, 12:55 AM
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I had this problem with a TB that I was working with awhile back. He was the same way- would drop his head and take the bit like a perfect gentleman, but when it came time to put the bridle over his ears the head he'd do his giraffe impersonation. He was like that anytime you tried to touch his ears, whether a bridle was present or not. Once the bridle was in place he was absolutely fine with it.

We worked a ton on trying to fix the ear issue with no bridle in sight. Lots of touching, brushing, and rubbing on his face with praise and gentle words if I got close to his ears. I'd start by scratching him on the side of his face or around his eyes an gradually make my way higher. I'd take care to stop before I went too far and he jerked his head up/shot back. It didn't take long to make significant progress in that department, but I stopped working with him for unrelated reasons and didn't see it through.

If you managed to get the bridle on super quickly in one motion it didn't give him enough time to get squirrely. Miss on the first time and it became an issue. I wasn't about to stop riding the him just because of this issue, so I took off the noseband of the bridle and started unbuckling it. This way I could put the bit in his mouth, swing the crownpiece over his head like with a halter, and buckle so we could get a ride in. We made pushing the bridling issue a separate issue from riding by doing this.
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post #7 of 11 Old 10-21-2015, 01:56 PM
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I have a horse with extensive aural plaques in both ears which makes him ear sensative. I bought a one eared western head stall that unbuckles on the left side. I place the bit in, put the loop over his right ear and buckle it. I've been applying veterinary cream Inside his ears twice a week for a couple of years and he has gotten a lot less sensative. He knows I'm going to do it, it might irritate but it's not going to hurt so he tolerates me. I still unbuckle the headstall rather than bending his ears and sliding it over.
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post #8 of 11 Old 10-24-2015, 08:57 AM
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One of my lesson horses has/had this problem and I've worked with him over 7 or 8 years to try to cure it. After I bought him, I found out that a previous "trainer" had habitually grabbed his right ear, twisted it all the way around and used it as a twitch to drag his head down for clipping. At first, even touching that ear would cause him to throw his head up to the ceiling and sometimes even rear.

Over the years, he got better and better with patient handling-sometimes I would spend a quiet 20 minutes at a time just handling his face and sneaking up to the ear. He did get much better over time but occasionally something will remind him and set him off. I suspect that horses that are abused never completely forget but with work you can get them to trust you most of the time. I just step away, get my little 1' stepstool out and start again. They sell these little fold aluminum stepstools and they work great for a horse that uses that high headed avoidance technique.

The way I bridle every horse is; face the same direction as the horse, tuck my shoulder up under the throat, holding the crown (top) in my right hand. My right arm stays lined up with the right side of the face so that I can control/push the off side of the his face or neck. The left hand controls the bit and lower part of the bridle. Hold the bridle up slightly on the right and put the lower/bit area of it over the nose and under the jaw. Smooth, slow but very deliberate movements. Bring the bit gently up to the mouth from under the jaw while moving the crown up slightly at the same time. Ask the horse to open his mouth (stick your finger in the side of the mouth and tickle a little if you have to) and slide the bit in while matching the movement up with your right hand holding the crown. If the horse tries to move away from you, your right forearm can stop that movement and if he puts his head up, just follow that movement up with both hands. Once you have the bit in his mouth you can do the ears one by one. With practice, you will be able to do this while still facing forward.

When you are first doing this, you will feel like a real klutz but with practice you will find that you can bridle just about any horse, even the worst ones. And don't be afraid to have one of these little stepstools handy-horses love to take advantage of us short people!
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post #9 of 11 Old 10-24-2015, 03:55 PM
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To bridle: I had this problem with a gelding that came to me that had previously had infected ears. He was not treated well about his reaction to the pain. I didn't want to use a one-ear on him (that still required handling his ear) so I made a browband with snaps. He was easy to halter as long as the ears weren't touched, so then was easy to bridle putting it on like a halter and then snapping the browband into place.

The cure: Every single day I went out, 3 times a day, sometimes more often (he was at my home) and worked with this gelding, running and rubbing a lunge whip up and down the side of his neck on both sides, getting close to the ears but not close enough for him to react. As I got closer, I used a shorter whip. Finally, I could rub his ears with the whip, so I substituted my hand. Very small steps. I was finally able to bridle him in a normal manner after about 90 days. He was great about his ears for the rest of the time I had him. I have been told that it takes about 300 repetitions of a good thing happening to overcome one bad thing that happened at one time. I didn't have to do that many, but I see the logic in it.
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post #10 of 11 Old 10-24-2015, 06:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chasin Ponies View Post
One of my lesson horses has/had this problem and I've worked with him over 7 or 8 years to try to cure it. After I bought him, I found out that a previous "trainer" had habitually grabbed his right ear, twisted it all the way around and used it as a twitch to drag his head down for clipping. At first, even touching that ear would cause him to throw his head up to the ceiling and sometimes even rear.

Over the years, he got better and better with patient handling-sometimes I would spend a quiet 20 minutes at a time just handling his face and sneaking up to the ear. He did get much better over time but occasionally something will remind him and set him off. I suspect that horses that are abused never completely forget but with work you can get them to trust you most of the time. I just step away, get my little 1' stepstool out and start again. They sell these little fold aluminum stepstools and they work great for a horse that uses that high headed avoidance technique.

The way I bridle every horse is; face the same direction as the horse, tuck my shoulder up under the throat, holding the crown (top) in my right hand. My right arm stays lined up with the right side of the face so that I can control/push the off side of the his face or neck. The left hand controls the bit and lower part of the bridle. Hold the bridle up slightly on the right and put the lower/bit area of it over the nose and under the jaw. Smooth, slow but very deliberate movements. Bring the bit gently up to the mouth from under the jaw while moving the crown up slightly at the same time. Ask the horse to open his mouth (stick your finger in the side of the mouth and tickle a little if you have to) and slide the bit in while matching the movement up with your right hand holding the crown. If the horse tries to move away from you, your right forearm can stop that movement and if he puts his head up, just follow that movement up with both hands. Once you have the bit in his mouth you can do the ears one by one. With practice, you will be able to do this while still facing forward.

When you are first doing this, you will feel like a real klutz but with practice you will find that you can bridle just about any horse, even the worst ones. And don't be afraid to have one of these little stepstools handy-horses love to take advantage of us short people!
"The way I bridle every horse is; face the same direction as the horse, tuck my shoulder up under the throat, holding the crown (top) in my right hand. My right arm stays lined up with the right side of the face so that I can control/push the off side of the his face or neck. The left hand controls the bit and lower part of the bridle. Hold the bridle up slightly on the right and put the lower/bit area of it over the nose and under the jaw. Smooth, slow but very deliberate movements. Bring the bit gently up to the mouth from under the jaw while moving the crown up slightly at the same time. Ask the horse to open his mouth (stick your finger in the side of the mouth and tickle a little if you have to) and slide the bit in while matching the movement up with your right hand holding the crown. If the horse tries to move away from you, your right forearm can stop that movement and if he puts his head up, just follow that movement up with both hands. Once you have the bit in his mouth you can do the ears one by one. With practice, you will be able to do this while still facing forward.

When you are first doing this, you will feel like a real klutz but with practice you will find that you can bridle just about any horse, even the worst ones."

THIS is the best description I have heard. This is how I bridle. I am 5'3" and have no problem bridling pretty much any horse. Including tall TBs/WBs/Draft crosses etc.

The trick is to set the situation up to NOT happen.
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