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Tips from the ground up, including bridling

Hi, I need help.

I have a 3 year old paint that does not want to take a bit. We have to fight with him to get the bit in. It has gotten so bad we just don't want to fight with him anymore. One more thing, can you send me tips on horses training from ground up?

Thank you so much, Ally

Hi Ally,

Make certain the horse has no mouth problems first and foremost. He may need his teeth floated. Have a veterinarian check his mouth first. Next, to get a horse to acclimate to a bit begin to handle his mouth. Do you understand? You need to be able to message his gums behind the upper lip (in front of the upper teeth) and put your finger in where the bit goes (on both sides of his mouth) and keep it there. This requires some skill and patience (most things do). I would also practice having the horse lower his head and keep it down for the halter and the bridle. To ask a horse to lower his head stand on the left side half way up the neck. Use a rope halter and lead rope. Hold the lead rope about 18" below the halter. Look down at the ground (where you want the horse's head to go). Bend down a little and just put the weight of your arm on the rope. Do no try to pull the horse's head down. Just let the weight of your arm be on the rope. The 'instant' the horse lowers his head even a little, release the rope completely. That is his reward for lowering his head (the release of all pressure). Using this method on a consistent basis the horse will come to lower his head when prompted to. You position when trygin to bridle the horse is very important as well. Do not stand in front of the horse. Only stand by side, usually left, of the neck. Put his nose thru the bridle first, holding the top of the bridle with your right hand and wait until horse relaxes. Your right hand should be at the 'poll' between his ears. You will lift your right wrist to raise the bridle. Once he relaxes at bit, handle his mouth gently. Once he is OK with that (which could take several sessions) then hold the bit appropriately in the left hand and using your left hand thumb ask the hrose to open his mouth enough to accept the bit. Be ready to raise the bit with your right hand. Always be careful you do not hit the horse's teeth with the bit.

Techniques like this and the 'tips' you are asking for are extremely difficult to describe in an email and take a lot of time. I can write lengthy descriptions of a process (which also takes a lot of time) and you will not be able to do them as they require substantial previous experience with horses which I do not know if you have. 'Starting horses' (training from the ground up) is another lengthly process that has risks for both horse and human. I can say things like; be the leader not the boss, be precise in what you are asking for so as to not confuse the horse (which is a form of abuse). Practice having the horse do hind end yields so you have a tool if the horse gets nervous and begins to fidgit or you need to modify behavior you do not want. 'Sack the horse out' as thoroughly as possible before attempting to ride the horse (which is a whole other topic. These are processes that take a long time to learn. There is no quick fix or magic pill to take to have things go faster or give you experience you do not have.

So Ally, you see how involved any kind of little 'tips' can be. They take a lot of time to type out and you may or may not have the skills to appropriately implement them. Please consider some coaching in horsemanship via the telephone. I do this with a lot of folks now and it is effective, convenient, cost effective (about what a piano lesson costs) and you can get assistance quickly if you try something and have a proiblem. Your horse is a hefty investment of money and time. Why not get started on the right foot? As you have seen with your attempts to bridle the horse, things get worse quickly and are then harder to overcome. Please consider some real assistance in the form of good coaching. It will save you time, money and a lot of aggrivation in the long run, not to mention wear and tear on your innocent horse. Let me know your thoughts please.

Sincerely, Franklin

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