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 Post subject: How To Put on the Bridle
PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2007 2:38 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2007 8:50 am
Posts: 10
Location: Ohio
What is the easiest way to get them to put it on?? I seem to have to fight her every time to do it and then she seems to have an attitude while she is wearing it and will do everything in her power to get you to take it off. Any suggestions as to what will help her?? and me!!
I was thinking about trying a different style to see if that helps.

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 Post subject: Putting on the Bridle
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 2:32 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2007 3:57 pm
Posts: 195
Location: Iowa
The first thing I would check is the fit of the bridle/bit/chin strap. If it is uncomfortable for your pony (assuming the pony is trained and well-acquainted with how to wear a bridle and carry the bit---an untrained colt will always mouth and fuss at the bit until they get used to it) she may acting out of pain. The strap of the bridle (headstall) can be adjusted at the side of your pony's face. When bridled, the bit should fit at the corners of the pony's mouth securely...some people say one wrinkle at the corner of the lips means it's tight enough. If it seems to really be pulling the lips back, or making more than one wrinkle, the headstall may be too tight. If you have to get a hole punch and make more holes, do so. These can be found at tack/feed/supply stores.

Check the bit you are using. It is best to stick with the one your pony is used to, but if you are unfamiliar with it, here are some things to check: Make sure the bit isn't upside down in the pony's mouth--a ring snaffle that hinges in the middle can easily be put on backwards, causing it to fit awkwardly on the pony's tongue and making her fight it. The hinges should lie so the bit curves OVER the horse's tongue smoothly; if it is attached to the headstall backwards or upside down, it will arc the other way, making a bump on the tongue and the hinges hitting the roof of the pony's mouth painfully.

Check the chin strap, which is a leather strap or a chain that fits under the pony's chin, tightening when you pull back on the reins. It should be loose enough to slip a few fingers between it and the chin.

If these all seem fine, then your pony could just be irritable and I would ignore its actions. More practice for an inexperienced horse will result in them settling down and not fussing at the bit. You could try a hackamore, but sometimes they don't respect it as much. Good luck!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2007 1:42 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2007 11:04 am
Posts: 64
Location: Missouri
There are some things you can try if your horse won't accept the bridle willingly. The first thing is to train him to lower his head for you. You can teach him this with just a little practice. With a halter on, or just standing by his head if he is gentle enough to stay near you, put your arm along the top of his neck, so that your hand is just behind his ears at the top of his neck. Use a finger on each side of his crest to press down on the top of his neck. Keep a steady pressure (doesn't have to be hard--you aren't pushing his head down, you are merely putting some irritating pressure on him.) If he bobs his head or lowers it even a smidgen, instantly release the pressure and pat him and speak to him. You can then try it again. Just hold the pressure there until he gives. Once he learns that lowering his head results in a release of pressure, he will quickly lower his head when you place your arm along the top of his neck. You may have to practice this each day before feeding time, and after a week or two, he will readily lower his head.

When you want to bridle your horse, stand at his left side and place your right arm along the top of his neck, the bridle in your left hand. When he has his head lowered, transfer the top of the bridle to your right hand, which should be able to reach between his ears and hold the top of the headstall in front of his face, near his ears. Then with your left hand held out palm up, take the bit in your fingertips. Use the thumb of your left hand to hold the chin strap/curb chain back from the bit. Your right arm can extend further between his ears to lower the bridle so that the bit hangs below his chin. The bridle will be on each side of his face, but not over his ears or in his mouth yet. Lift the bit in your left hand to his lips. Gently attempt to fit the bit between his lips. If he won't open them, use the thumb of your left hand to slip in the corner of his mouth (no teeth there, so you won't get bitten) and press down on the lower gums until he opens his mouth. Slip the bit in, while lifting the headstall up higher with your right hand, so that the bit stays in. After he has accepted the bit, it is easy to use both hands to slip the ears into place inside the headstall. Then fasten the throat latch (strap that fits under the horse's throat--some bridles don't have them) and you're ready to go.

Remember, be very patient and non-threatening in your movements. You want to make the experience as pleasant as possible. Your horse is probably resisting the bit because he has not been handled gently previously, or else he is inexperienced and looking for a way to escape the bridle. Gentle, consistent practice will help him submit to being bridled without fussing. Once you get him bridled, feed him a handful of grain or a treat he really likes.

Some people put molasses or honey on the bit, or try to hold grain in the hand they're holding the bit in. This can help, but you run a risk of getting fingers bit, or teaching the horse to only accept a bit with honey on it. The best way is to ask, wait for the action you want, and instantly reward the horse. Practice makes perfect. Good luck!


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