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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 7 yr old solid paint mare that I've had for a little over a month. She lunges well, she's very intelligent, but when it comes to tacking up, she fights all the way. She's snapped cross ties and when tied to the hitching post, she twists and pulls and rears and I'm afraid she'll hurt me or herself. It ends up being a two to three person job to get her bridle on her. Once it's on, she's extremely well behaved again. Her teeth are fine and no other health issues. I've tried flavoring the bit, I warm it up in my hands if it's cold. I can halter her with no problems. She has no problems with her ears being touched. Please help! Thanks!!!
 

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Did she have this problem when you bought her? Did you do a ride prior to buying her? Was she already tacked up? Is she a trail horse, or has she been shown? What do you want to do w/her? Have you tried a hackamore or bosal?We need a bit more information to help you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
She was originally used for trail and the girl who owned her last only rode her with a halter and bareback. She's never been shown and I plan on using her for trail/western pleasure. I've ridden her with just a halter before, but she tends to get very pushy and not want to listen. She listens well with a bit, it's just getting the bridle on and bit in her mouth. She stands well for saddling too. When I went to look at her before buying, she threw her head once, but didn't act up much for bridling. Now, she throws her head and rears. The girl that had her previously, used a tom thumb and she had problems. I have since switched to a dee-snaffle and she does well under saddle with it.
 

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i would start over and reintroduce her to all tack and gear... jmho
its better to start over then try to fix holes :) goodluck
 

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Sounds like there may be some "holes" in her basic training. Be patient- some other members will probably be answering also, but sounds like she needs to start over w/all the issues she's having. Is this your first horse? What kind of horse experience have you had?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
She is my first horse and I absolutely love her. I've been riding for about four years. I rode more when I was younger. Thank you for your help/advice!!!
 

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So, I'm guessing she does this during the whole saddling up process?

One thing that might be needed, is taught how to stand tied.

Like others have said, re-introduce everything, but I'd do it in an inclosed pen on a lead line. Get her comfortable with you doing it without the aid of being tied, so she learns to stand still and deal with being saddled.

As far as bridle goes, I'd take it on and off, on and off, over and over until she stays calm one time, then the whole session for the day is over. Do it for several sessions. Then, teach her to put her head down. Lightly push on the top of her neck behind her poll with two fingers on either side, slowly increase the pressure until she puts her head down, even just a little, then immediately release pressure. Do this until you can lightly put pressure on top of her head and she puts it down. Then, introduce the bridle (if she is entirely calm with it now) and teach her to put her head down to the bridle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks MangoRox87! She does stand tied well and does well for saddling, it's just bridling. I am going to start re-training with the bridle for now and hope it helps! Hopefully, with time, she'll get better!
 

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I agree with kait18--start her over.
She was originally used for trail and the girl who owned her last only rode her with a halter and bareback.
Typical. Don't fix the problem, just circumvent it. Your mare is LUCKY that you bought her and want to fix the problem. NOTHING sends horses down the path that ends in slaughter MORE than problems tacking and problems under saddle.
I have since switched to a dee-snaffle and she does well under saddle with it.
Good switch. I'm kinda tired of the overused notion that snaffle bits hurt the horse. They've only been a staple for >2,000 years.
Ryan Gingerich starts his colts bridingl by making a bridle out of a soft leadrope. He knots the end of the leadrope to make a loop, then "Bridles" as you would and teaches his horses to open their mouths for the rope-bit. My 50 KMH gelding was awful with bitting, now much better, but I've designed February as "fix the bitting" with him. Since I go in the stall pretty much daily to muck out around him--good trust going on there!!=b--THAT's where I'll be working on bridling with him. IT CAN be done. First teach her to drop her head. Use a rope to put around her neck which you will use to lead her only a few steps, then you release. You can use food on the ground when you do this. Her stall is a very good place to train her to drop her head.
My QH, "Ro Go Bar" (1982-2009, RIP) was extremely head shy when I bought him as a 5yo. He turned into my babysitter, anybody could work with him, anybody could tack him up, anybody could ride and load him in a trailer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks Corporal! Where she was at, she pretty much became a broodmare and pasture pet. She had a stall in the garage with no bedding and no hay. The girl that had her, sold her foal and left her by herself. She was turned out in the morning in a very small field and brought in in the evening and given a scoop of grain and that was it. No time with anyone. When I first got her, she would actually ration herself with her hay afraid that she wouldn't get more. She had trust issues, but has come a long way in a short amount of time! Now, she nuzzles and gives me kisses and she's done great with ground training! She picked up on it very quickly and remembers well.
 

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Sorry to hear that you are having issues, and I'm also sorry that I have more questions, but no answers at this point.

You say her teeth are fine, have you actually have them checked, how do you know they fine?

When you untack her, are you very careful not to bang her teeth when you drop her bit?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Her teeth have been checked, not by me, but by my vet. And while tacking and untacking, I watch to make sure the bit does not hit her teeth.
 

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My mare was rode in a tom thumb before I bought her. She was suposedly ear shy from a ear mite problem. So I brought her home. Got her trust to handle her ears, taught her to lower her head, and started her in a D-ring snaffle. It all got better. Her previous owner rode very heavy handed, always in contact with her mouth, used a tie down to keep her from tossing her head. Needless to say she was very bracy with the snaffle. So I went back to the harsh bit, to gradually back off while still getting her to give. 2 rides latter she broke her lead rope when she saw me coming with the headstall !! All the problems come back in a violent outburst. The tom thumb went in the garbage can. It took a while to get her trust back, then teach her to give to much lighter cues from the snaffle. Bottom line is take the time to train her. She now rides on a loose rein with no head tossing, no tie down, and stands unhaltered be tacked. I bet you have the same problem. She is scared of the harsh bit hurting her mouth. Teach her to give to easy light pressure without pain. It will be a slow process to undo the the preception she asociates with bridling and pain.
 

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It's pretty amazing to me how often they are recommened in local tack stores. lol. I see a lot of well trained cow horses being ridden in them.:roll: I prefer to use the least I have too, to get the responce I want. Then back off.
 

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Clicker/treat training will help you resolve this. First teach the horse to touch a target that could be a small ball or pill bottle on the end of a riding crop or stick. The horse initially will touch it by accident but it still earns a click and a treat. When you can hold it high or low and the horse seeks to touch it then you can graduate to the bridle. Let the headstall fall below your hands and use the bit as the target. When he touches it, c/t. Move it away then offer it again. If you are patient he will start to lip the bit or even lick it. c/t. When he's doing this and relaxed (relaxed is very important) gather the headstall about midway to the browband in your left hand and hold it so the bit in hanging correctly. His nose now has to enter the headstall a little in order to touch the bit.c/t, I think you get the idea. Don't even plan on putting the bridle on that day. The repetition is what works and always work with his ears level with his withers. If he is ear shy use the same technique by putting your hand far enough away that it doesn't trouble him. In this case he is rewarded for not reacting. Very gradually work your hand closer to his ear. If he starts to move, keep you hand still and wait for him to stop moving and immediately click. It's ok if the treat is a few seconds in coming, he knows it's on it's way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks Saddlebag...I never really thought of trying CT. I actually used the same technique to teach her to give me kisses, but without the clicker...lol. She picked up on it fast. I will definitely try!
 

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Teaching to drop the head first, then rope in mouth before bit, or ct alternative are all good. Another thing that helps take pressure off of horse is to sit on a stool while you work with the bridling!
 
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