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My horse strikes at me when I approach with a halter or bridle

Hi Franklin,

When I approach my horse with a halter or bridle, she strikes at me with her front feet. What can I do?

Thanks, Justin

Hi Justin,

It would seem your horse has had some trauma, perhaps some abuse, from a human with halter and/or bridle. Of course, it is the fault of an unknowing or uncaring human. You need to develop some trust again with the horse. First off, never approach the horse with the halter or bridle straight up in front of it. Always come to the shoulder. If the horse begins to move away, you back away a few steps. repeat this over a few days if need be, until the horse lets you approach it. Once there, gently rub the horse on the neck with your hand and then walk away. Do this a few times. Then, gently rub the horse on the neck with the halter and/or bridle. Then walk away. These are the first lessons in trusting you to have a halter and bridle near her. Remember the reward is the complete release of pressure. You walking away is the big reward. Sometime later go back and do the same thing. After successfully doing this for 4-5 times, gently begin to rub the horse's face with the bridle and/or halter. Then walk away. Do this a few more times. If all is going well, go ahead and put on the halter first. Wait one minute and remove it and walk away. Do this a few times and then with the bridle a few times. Do not leave the equipment on the horse for long at all. After a week of these sessions, if you have done it all correctly, you should be able to walk up to the horse with a halter and /or bridle, not have it try to strike you and be able to put the headgear on the horse and leave it on as long as you want. Keep me posted and go slowly and be careful.

Sincerely, Franklin

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