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Problems bridling & haltering horses


My husband is having a problem bridling his 7 yr old mare. We have had her about a month. The previous owners always removed the halter/lead rope from her neck and the put the bridle on without having her tied to anything. We hadn't been 'trained' this way to bridle a horse. Once we take the halter off the horse and attempt to get her in the position to put the bridle on and bit in her mouth, she starts backing up, trying to eat grass, and turning circles. Unfortunately it has not been a good experience. The previous owners showed us how they do it without tying, however they did it in the pasture where there is little temptation to walk off or eat. When we attempted to bridle her with being still tied with halter loosely around her neck and to the trailer, she reared when coming near her with the bridle.

Is this a hopeless case? Any thoughts on what we can do? Thanks

Hi Jo,

Please do not attempt to, halter, bridle or saddle this horse while it is tied 'fast'. This is a formula for a 'wreck.' Please try to imitate or emulate what the previous owners did. They had no problem bridling the horse and, if you do what they did you won't either, no matter where you are. Many horses don't like feeling total restraint, which is what you are experiencing with your horse. They rear or pull back so hard they throw themselves on the ground. Please, it is not up to the horse to always be obedient to the way humans do things. A good horseman meets the horse where it is in its training and works from there. Your horse can be trained to be tied and not pull back or rear. You are not the ones to do that it would seem, at least at this point. First you must learn to handle the horse without it being tied.

Briefly, with the horse untied, first put a lead rope around the horses neck so you can use the rope to keep the horse near you should it begin to walk off. If the horse attempts to walk off, simply jiggle the lead rope just a bit to get its attention. Then make certain you are standing about half way up the horse's neck, on its left side, not crowding the horse's head so much that it wants to move away. Your right arm goes over the horses neck and holds the long strap of the halter that comes over the horses head. Your left hand holds the left side of the halter near where the long strap fastens. The nose hole or 'noseband' of the halter should be positioned right under the horse's nose so it can easily and gently be raised (by both hands evenly) up on to the horse's nose. Or, as a preferable scenario, the horse lowers his head into the nose band of the halter. Then the halter gets fastened evenly and smoothly on to the horse's head.

As the leaders of the horse, it is up to us to learn their ways and needs a bit more before attempting to bend the horse to our concepts and ways of thinking about what a horse should or should not do or how it should behave. There is technique involved in training. The horse's sense of safety and well being should be our paramount concern always. Good Luck.....

Sincerely, Franklin

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