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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Today when I was riding my horse became very head shy. She wouldn't let me touch her head! but eventually she let me take her bridle off. She has been somewhat head shy due to her previous owners but today she acted as if no one had ever touched her there. Does anyone have some advice?! :?
 

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Be consistent and work on it every time you are with her. Firstly, what I suggest is to get her to drop her nose to the ground when you say "down" - to teach this you need a ton of patience.. Stand next to her and apply steady pressure (not a lot of it, but enough to feel and hold consistently) downwards on the lead rope. Say "down" and hold the pressure (increase it if she moves her head up) until she gives downward motion even the slightest bit. Reward with immediate release and say "good!" Do this consistently enough and you will get a horse that drops their noses to the ground with a feather light touch and/or verbal command.
Next step is a bit hard to explain so I will link you to a video when I get on my computer. Basically you want to pet close to the problem area and move your hand very fast over the problem area so they don't have time to react to your hand even being there. Then you go back to petting the "good" spot, repeat, repeat, repeat, getting slower as you go.
Very effective to teach both at the same time, I've had a lot of success with it.
It can take a long time to accomplish but it can be done.
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This isn't the exact video that I was thinking of I don't think (the exact video I'm thinking of is at least a couple of years old) but it shows the quick technique I was describing. I would use a halter, though.

 

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John Lyons explains it quite well. The end goal is of course tone able to have your hand on the horse's ear as long as you want - but you can't start there. It sounds totally counterproductive but I promise it works if you stick with it. You don't want to go slow; you want to move fast. I was skeptical at first but now I completely get it.

 

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When you bridle the horse do you push her ears back or forward? That can make a big difference. The ears should always be pushed forward and use the palm of your hand not your fingers to do this. When you unbridle be sure to lift the bridle so it doesn't jam against the base of his ear when pulling it forward. Release one ear then do the other side. When clear of the ears, hold the bridle steady and wait until the horse releases the bit. If you just pull it off the bit hits it's teeth. That will cause this reaction.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well, I can tell you guys that she does lower her head when I tell her to except when she acts head shy. I will try all the things you all have suggested. And by the way I put her ears forward because I am not able to do it back and she releases the bit when your hand is under to catch it.
 

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Okay...?? What exactly do you need help with, then, if you're going to be dismissive of advice that people took time out of their busy days to give you? She doesn't lower her head every time, which is what you need. Every. Time.
I stayed up late last night to find those videos for you.. Because I know how frustrating it is, and what worked for me, and I would have loved to have had guidance when I was dealing with it.
Sorry for the vent, but I hate when a person asks a question and is rude/dismissive of those who spend time writing out responses.
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm not saying you have to stop. I was responding to someone's question. Sorry if I mislead you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
That's ok! I will still except advice and I appreciate all that you gave me! =)
 

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You can't go blaming previous owners for your difficulties with your horse. They could be reading this. Horses are head protective because they rely heavily on their hearing and sense of smell since they have lousy eyesight. Some horses are just more senstitive than others and some horses test their owner, cause that's what horses do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'm sorry to disagree with you. But my horse is head shy because I know she was abused. It is just to obvious! Although I'm not saying it was the owner that had her before me. For all I know she could have had 6 owners because of the way she is. Now she is doing a lot better and trusts me enough to touch her. Because when she first came she was so scared! No one could get within 6 feet of her with out her bolting away. The very next day I had her following me around. She does remember what has happened to her in the past. That is why she is head shy. I'm only trying to find out how to keep her from being head shy.
 

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You have to let go of your horse's past and move on. One of the worst mistakes novice owners can make is using the whole "abused past" as an excuse for the horse.
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Your horse was in a new situation and it's flight/survival instincts kicked in. When a new horse arrives I just leave it alone for a few days while it sorts things out. Try removing the bridle while her nose is in a feed pan. She may be so focused on the feed that she may not care a whole lot about her ears being touched. That's also a good time to run the palms of your hands up the back of them. If she reacts, move the pan away then offer it again.
 

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head shy

my section a welsh is a rescue he was beaten around the head and was compleatley head shy.
i worked on him all the time when he walked out with me in hand.
i had some titbits with me and i would walk with him and touch his face with my hand and ask him to woah and give him a titbit and so forth.
i eventuarly started stroking his ears and eventurley was strokeing his forehead.
its also good pratice for a young horse to be handled this way your giveing verble and hand training.
he has progressed to the stage that if you offer a full driveing collar and ask for his head he will pass it through his driveing collar and also if you can perchase a set of race horse blinkers you can train your horse to lover his head and willingley have his head handled with no fuss what so ever.
and he is just as good with his bridle now to it takes time but it is good for you and your horse and is a learning curve for both of you.
as i have said he was beaten up bad and has taken a long time to bring him round but it has payed off with haveing one to one with him with kindness and a bit of food goes a long way.
and the only problem lol is he has opend up so much and he dont miss a trick and he is a fast learner he stands on podiums (boxes) lifts his feet to what for leg you want if he sees some thing that he likes he chomps his lips so he has also learned to comunicate in a way he can i would say his intelegence is amaseing.
well one last thing we have a stair case which goes up to the tack room he has observed me i tied him up near the gate he now undoes the gate and has tryed to tackle the stair case but thanfully he has not untied him self boy he does that to otherwise he would go through the staircase as it wont take his weight.
i wish you the best with your head shy horse and you can solve your problems.
 

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blameing past owners

sorry but i have to blame past owners im sorry to contredict you there.
we felt so sorry for him he was in a state when we got him he had been beaten through the skull had shoes twice the size of his hoofs nailed on with roofing clout nails.
and he had strangles as well i told the dealer there was something wroung with his horses but he did not want to know.
we think kids had beaten him as he had a dislike for them he had one of my frends kids by the hair and when thay palyed out in the garden he wore a muzzle.
i moved him on to a livery yard and a child kept goading him and i spoke to the child and the mother and said stop if he has your child i will not be held responsable for his actions you have been warned.
well he had the kid and all hell broke lose with me and the kids mum.
i told them but try telling two shought planks of wood.
i am able to say he loves children and thay love him he is well behaved ears foward and thay feed him carrots and i was so proud of him as he made a fuss of a child in a pram its taken a long time but we have got there.
the dammage that the past owner had done is unbeleavable i had to compleatley so to speak reright the system i am so proud of him i call him my son and his manors are impeckable.
all horses are like us individuals once you find a way in you can unlock so many doors in your horse.
it takes time and your horse will suprise you.
so i blame the past owners for this ponys problems when he was a foal.
he is 29 now and my boys been with me 28 years.
 

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Obviously your methods aren't working for her. Maybe the bridle pokes her in the eye, maybe she has pain somewhere else on her body, maybe the bit pinches her, maybe the bit clangs against her teeth, maybe your energy is weird, maybe she's distracted.

Figure it out. Then fix it.
 

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just a thought when I read your first post. Have you checked her ears? Also you as this is out of the blue, I don't really like when people try to say that "out of the blue" or "all of a sudden and for no reason" my horse did....whatever. Your horse finally got you to understand that something about how you are handling her head she doesn't like.
First I would say check her ears to make sure they are not bothering her. Then do a lot of work on getting your hands on her head, in her ears, up her nose, in her mouth, around her eyes. Do it slow and do it a lot. Good luck I hope this is a help
 

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Sometimes horses a just born head shy. I bought a filly that was head shy. She hadn't had much work (and I knew the owners, they weren't abusive), just in a pen once with a halter put on her to see how she was. He told us that she seemed head shy. So I went with it. She was a wild yearling, in a pen of 6 other horses (4 weanlings, 2 other yearlings). I'd dab a lariat on her and then would go from there, using some John Lyons and some Monty Roberts stuff. I worked her for ages with just a rope around her neck. I got her so I could walk up to her and slip a rope around her neck, tie it in a bowknot and then work with her. She was so bad, if I tried to touch her nose she'd rear. I would pet up her neck and when I reached the spot that she'd react, I'd rub her a little and then retreat and do it all over. I would take breaks from working on her head and work with being able to pet her and pick up feet, then I'd go back to her head. In about a month of working almost every day she'd try and find the halter with her nose. It's all about being consistent, and a lot of approach and retreat.
 
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