How to put a bridle on an ear shy horse

Discussion in 'Problem Horses' started by Flynn, Dec 31, 2005.

  1. Flynn

    Flynn New Member

    A friend of mine has a new horse that is very ear shy. She has been able to put the bridle on for the past couple of weeks but this morning the horse just flipped out. In the end we had to pull the bridle apart removing the brow band, get the bridle over his neck, then put the bit in and subsitite the brow band with some twine to hold it in place - not an ideal solution but at least we won the battle and got a bridle (of sorts) on him, however it took about an hour.

    She tells me that she can do the pressure / release thing to get him to lower his head most of the time but he is always ear shy. He is a big horse (16.2hh) so when he throws his head in the air, we stand no chance. After we got the bridle on, he let me rub his eyes, forlock and neck and became relatively relaxed

    Any suggestions
  2. wozal

    wozal Well-known Member

    Has he been doing this since she got him or just lately? Our pony was like that but we got a bowen therapist out and she did some work on her and she is no longer ear shy she was just hurting really bad and didnt want any one to touch her head or ears...........Shes a changed pony now!


    Reality is an illusion that occurs due to a lack of alcohol!!
  3. Flynn

    Flynn New Member

    He was ear shy when she got him, however she was able to get the bridle on him. It has only been today that he was near impossible although he has had times when it has taken a couple of minutes to get the bridle on
  4. wozal

    wozal Well-known Member

    i worked with a pony that was ear shy but i just kept my hand near his ears where the bridle would sit until he gave up then i took my hand away then did it again, but he was an 11hh welsh so it was easy even when he threw his head up, but 16hh is much harder in these situations


    Reality is an illusion that occurs due to a lack of alcohol!!
  5. Sam144

    Sam144 New Member

    My horse was ear shy as well when i got him two months ago and all i did was every chance i got i played with his head and ears. to start with he didnt like but everytime he let me touch them and play around with his head i would reward him with lots of cuddles and carrots and then i only did it every second time and then slowly reduced the treats and more cuddles and now he is fine. when i played with his head sometimes i had things in my hand, sometime it was a cloth or bailing twine a bridle(not actually putting it on) and just genrally playing around and i did this for about two weeks and he was fine after that. My horse is 16.2hh as well as not being able to touch bridel or wash his head was really hard for me, so i made sure i did lots of playing around. and also did my other two who are generally fine with their heads, and now they are all fine with me around there heads. Makes it alot easier to wash them!! [​IMG]


    Sam, Surfie, Saxon and Andy!!!

    i can sleep for days :)
  6. lyric

    lyric New Member

    I would first rule out any medical problems, such as ear mites, bad teeth etc. My farrier has a horse who was very ear shy, he has since had his teeth checked now the horse is great.
  7. lyric

    lyric New Member

    I would first rule out any medical problems, such as ear mites, bad teeth etc. My farrier has a horse who was very ear shy, he has since had his teeth checked now the horse is great.
  8. Nelly3488

    Nelly3488 Guest

    Currently we have a 3yo whom we are breaking in. She was very nervous about her ears and difficult to bridle. As she gets fed each day, The feed bin is placed on the ground and I will sit by the fence and as she takes a mouthful, I will softly touch her ears. She would quickly pull away at first, now she is relaxed and I can rub her ears for at least a minute. She is easier to bridle now too. Just a thought...

    Kissed by sunlight, embraced by open fields. The horse is the center of all beautiful things.
  9. Becy

    Becy New Member

    my horse is the same atm...we recently ruled out teeth and having another shot at it...still a bit ear shy. keep up the tips i may need them!

    Becy xoxox
  10. endolite

    endolite New Member

    Turn your horse’s head around to the near side and hold it in this position for about 1minute and this will send a false signal to the “Baroreceptor Relfex” sensor which will stimulate the “Vagus” nerve which in turn is lower the horse’s blood pressure making the horse calm.

    Put your bridle on slowley then and do the same when you take it off..

    Soon your horse will get over it's little complex..

    Good luck..
  11. Jode

    Jode Well-known Member

    I was watching a video clip on Horseproblems last night of this very thing.

    Made heaps of sense, definately worth a look.

  12. Aussie Cowgirl

    Aussie Cowgirl Active Member

    I have trained horses that were ear shy and found the best way was to work your hand slowly up to his ears. if he pulls away then pull your hand but keep a good bubble between you. if he wants to move away let him but only as long as you are making progress. If the horse is absolutely huge and you cant quiete reach another way is to pull on the lead rope until he lowers is head. once he has done that make him hold it there, when a horses head is lowerd they automatically calm down. Keep rubbing his cheek until he lets you touch the base of his ears. leave it there and try an hour or so later. Always leave it on a good note.

    Good Luck

    Cowgirl Up
  13. Fitzroy

    Fitzroy New Member

    Sam144's solution of playing with the ears was super. so long as pain is not the reason for his behaviour then there is no reason why he shouldnt let u touch his ears. if you just stroke him and play with them when u arent going to put the bridle on it is very likely that he will get over it. he may be associating u touching his ears with the bridle and consequently with doing work
  14. sil

    sil Gold Member

    Tie him up short first. Then get his ears handled til he is 100% (approach and retreat) with lots of positive encouragement. Once he is convinced you will handle his face and ears without hurting him, you should find it easy to put the bridle on. Just remember to not pinch the ears when putting it on!
  15. cass

    cass Active Member

    bit late now but
    we just got this young thoroughbred and he wont let use put the bridle in his mouth every tym he feels it or sees it thats it and i started to talk to him and he cuddled me made him put his head and just acted lyk he was a human and he trusted me and after bout 3 tries i got it in his mouth and every tym i do it now i talk to him and then do and he does but wen talkin to him i touch his mouth head ears etc just 2 c if he flichers but he has been bashed in the mouth and now after 20 mins from that day he knows but he tries and pulls and i let him go and now i can say head down and he does it and i can to lyk i do to my other thoroughbred so its just getting him to trust you and just use ur voice and let him trust you and wen i go to take the bridle off if he yanks the bridle off i leave it on and say head down head down and he does it and wen he doesnt pull to get it off i take it off so its just practise and let him trust it took me 20 mins and but this was to about 14.3 hand but it may work
    im a gurl who use her voice and i tend to talk to my horses more than anythin
  16. Nae Nae

    Nae Nae Well-known Member

    I have the same problem with my boy. i could never go near his ears but now he is perfect. all i did was a heap of ground work with him, i would also lunge him heaps and at the end get him to come into me and i would rub his ears so he new that i wasn't going to hurt them ever. i would work him first cause it takes the frisky ness off them. another thing is never ever use the ears as diciplin. mine has only ever had an ear twitch once since i've owned him and thats cause i wasn't there, the people wondered why he flipped out even on a heavy dose of tranquiliser (but would they listen to me about his ears.... NO) good luck and i hope you sort it out.

    "It is an endorsement of the horse's forgiving and tractable nature that he allows us to change his way of life completely and is still willing to do our bidding" Nicola Jane Swinney

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