Scribbles_rocks

Kinda Ot, Training Related.

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I am so frustrated! I have a 10 year old APHA mare, I have had her since she was 5 and she has always had ear issues! She does not want to be touched anywhere near her ears and you can't lift anything above her head or she will just raise it to get above it. I'm 5 foot 1 and she's 15.2 so there is a problem for me, I can't just make her let me bridle her. I have to undo the side of the bridle, and run it up her neck and then tighten it, but i can't get an earpiece over her ears whether its a slip-ear, one ear, or browband, and that is just dangerous ya know. I have had her ears checked several times and they don't come up with anything except that she is just being a *****. I have tried several different techniques to correct or minimize the problem but NOTHING has worked and I am at the end of my rope with this horse! She is a great horse, but the bridling thing is a big problem! [bang Head]

Any ideas or thoughts would be appreciated! Oh, and I have also had her poll adjusted and it was just a waste of money.

Thanks everyone!

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Ok, I had a gelding just like your mare. Couldn't touch him around the ears, and had to bridle the same way your talking about. He would absolutly freak out if anyones hand got close to his ears...or the bridle touched his ears.

Well I was young, so I tried a few things with him. First I started to rub up his neck getting closer and closer to his ears, and retreating, rubbing back down his neck, if he got nervous. Did this on both sides. I also rubbed up and down his face.

Another thing I did was get a soft cotton rope and started flinging it around his body, and eventually his head. Getting it right behind his ears and see-sawing it back and forth. Did this in front of his ears as well, right where the brow band would be.

After doing that I just plopped my hand right on his poll and started rubbing. Yes he did freak, backing up...head WAY in the air, head shaking...but I was persistant and when he stopped moving and lowered his head even a millimeter I started to retreat rubbing down his neck. This one is a dangerous one to try, depending on the horse.

Anyhows, I did all this for about a month I would like to say, and one day I decided to put the bridle on...and low and behold...He stood, head lowered and accepted everything!! I was soooooo happy!! I did take the browband off and just slipped a single strap bridle over his ears. Never had a problem bridling after that.

If your mare is like my old gelding, then its prolly a trust issue??

oh and also..with the cotton lead rope, I was pretended it was a bridle and after he was getting pretty good...would slip it over his ears...like your would bridling.

Hope you get some ideas....I just tried a bunch of different things... I was pretty much on my own.... lol but it worked!

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Thanks!! Sounds like they are long lost ear-issue siblings.. haha. I think that I haven't been doing the exercises with her consistently enough! I even have problems getting a halter on somedays, so I'm sure all this will help! [Jump] Thanks so much!

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You might want to rule out herpes.

My moms mare has it and it's a PITA to put her bridle on. We always thought she was just being a snot but it turns out she's in PAIN. Equine herpes is like having shingles. I don't know if anyone has had shingles but my mom has and she says it's extremely painful. If I can get ahold of her ear, then we can get the bridle on. Getting ahold of her ear is the hard part as she'll avoid it at all costs. But one you grab it, she calms down, it's like her sense of security. Everytime I work with her [which is NOT often] I'll spend like 30 minutes just working around her ears and making it seem OK and praising her when everything goes well. Getting the bridle off is tricky too as she'll crank her head in one direction very quickly and take you out sometimes. She's not being a brat; she's really in pain. She's always shook her head in this distinct way. And she tries so hard once you get around to riding her but thinking about getting the bridle on just makes you want to skip riding her that day....

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You might want to rule out herpes.

My moms mare has it and it's a PITA to put her bridle on. We always thought she was just being a snot but it turns out she's in PAIN. Equine herpes is like having shingles. I don't know if anyone has had shingles but my mom has and she says it's extremely painful. If I can get ahold of her ear, then we can get the bridle on. Getting ahold of her ear is the hard part as she'll avoid it at all costs. But one you grab it, she calms down, it's like her sense of security. Everytime I work with her [which is NOT often] I'll spend like 30 minutes just working around her ears and making it seem OK and praising her when everything goes well. Getting the bridle off is tricky too as she'll crank her head in one direction very quickly and take you out sometimes. She's not being a brat; she's really in pain. She's always shook her head in this distinct way. And she tries so hard once you get around to riding her but thinking about getting the bridle on just makes you want to skip riding her that day....

Wow I have never heard of herpes in horses affecting their ears.. is it treatable? And she doesn't shake her head, that is the weird part.. Hmm. Thanks for the insight I'll have to ask my vet to check for that too!

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I don't think its treatable.

We were suggested to use Silver Lining Herbs, can't remember which ones specifically but I know that Lysine helps.

There is a small test you can try...not sure how good the test is because alot of people think that equine herpes is a myth and not possible. Others will just say that this test just tests how sensitive your horse it. What you do is you quickly and firmly squeeze a part of the horses' neck with your thumb and your first and middle finger. You want them about 3 inches apart. The part of the neck you are going for is the muscle on either side of the middle of the neck.

DSCF0772.jpg

So in this picture, your thumb of your left hand should go right in that groove and your first/middle finger should be on the other side of the muscle. You want to squeeze right about where his blanket is. They will react suddenly and typically jerk their head up. I tried it with Hammer who doesn't have herpes and he didn't flinch. My moms mare and my dad gelding [both were diagnosed with it] and both did it. Cadillac doesn't shake his head or do anything weird. but Polly has always done this thing where she lowers her nose towards ground, rotates her head to the side and flings it up. She's done it ever since I can remember. Anyways, something to look into if it's not a trust thing with your horse. Hope my explanations were enough. =]

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try using an extension of your arm (ie a stick with a flag on it) start by flagging around the horses head, if she moves let her, reward her by stopping when she stops moving her feet. Dont try to touch her with it at first. Do this from both sides of her, once she allows this begin touching her with it, between her ears, on the sides of her face along her neck, again you stop when she stops, it may take some time and it can give you a good work out as well. If she is extra flighty take small steps. She will soon learn standing still is her reward. if she trys to run backwards or at you direct her movements around you (in a circle) Keep here head tipped toward you at all times for your safety but as long as she is moving you are moving that flag on her, when she stops you do as well

hopefully this helps you,

eventually you should be able to touch between her ears, if she starts to relapse its move her feet time

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