January 13, 2011

Bridling Woes

On New Year’s Day Rose came off of her vacation and I started riding her again. After our ride while I was un-tacking her, specifically removing her bridle, something startled her at the same time I was dropping the bit from her mouth. She threw her head up and clenched her teeth on the bit. However it was a bit of a sideways movement, so she actually clenched down on the ring of the egg butt. The strange feeling intensified her moment of panic. I was able to calm her with a few whoas and finish removing her bridle.


However, the past couple of times I've ridden her she has thrown a fit about taking the bit. So much so that I've had to take her from the aisle way into an empty stall and bridle her there. The aisle way allows her to back up and move forward endlessly all while doing her giraffe impersonation. I am tallish, but not THAT tall! Last night I decided that we needed to approach this like she was learning all about the bridle from scratch. So, I brought her into the wash stall, closed the gate, and took it slow.


I stood there with my right hand on the bridge of her nose holding the top of the bridle and my left hand holding the bit against her muzzle with my left thumb in her mouth. At times I had to be firm with my right hand to keep her head down. No giraffes allowed! Eventually she knew I meant business and slowly took the bit from my left hand. (Note: I didn't force the bit in her mouth, she already knows what to do with it, I just waited for her to make the decision to take it. Immediately upon taking it she got praise and a release via the removal of my right hand from the bridge of her nose).

"Whew" I said out-loud, coincidentally as a fellow boarder walked by wondering why I was bridling my horse in the wash stall. With a chuckle I explained to him that "It's the baby issue of the week". Once on, I took the bridle off and repeated two more times, making sure that she did not throw her head as I removed the bridle. And yes, she tried to each time. Silly mare, she's inadvertently causing her own issue. The third time, as usual, was the charm and she very nicely and easily took the bit. After our ride I made sure that the un-bridling process was smooth and comfortable for her, as I'm positive that that is what caused this bridling issue. Hopefully that will be the end of this issue, but we shall see what tonight brings.

Happy trails and swooshing tails!

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  1. Every time you interact with a horse you are training them, whether you meant to or not. I tell myself that all the time, but they still manage to surprise me sometimes. *lol*

    You did a great job. Little problems like that will crop up all the time, and you have to just be patient and go back to the beginning. Keep doing what you're doing, and she'll get it!

  2. It's amazing how one bad experience can create such a big problem, especially with bridling. Our adoption coordinator tends to be pretty rough in the bridling/un-bridling process and I can't tell you the number of horses she's created problems with. It makes me want to strangle her.

  3. I went through a huge bridling issue with Dee because I would ignore it and just deal with it each time. Finally got to the point where she would throw her head up, panic, and take off down the aisle and I had to start bridling in her stall. That was where I realized the bridling problem was more than just an inconvenience. Now, after a lot of patience, she is probably the best horse for bridling that I ever had. So worth it!



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