Does anyone have any useful hints of getting my young horse to not be afraid of the bridle. I have to back him up into a corner to get it on, and when I take it off he throws this head and the bit hits him in the mouth. He is 16.3hh so can be a bit painful for my arms. Thanks

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I think I'd work on how I was asking with the pressure to the poll response like up above... I know when I try something versus when my trainer tries... it's just Oliver not responding favorably to what I'm asking and that I need to spend more time on myself.... your horse is tall though so good luck... :) on the other hand, my horse Toby is much easier to me than he is my trainer.... he might just need you to ask differently honestly. :)
Try rubbing the bridle slowly around and on his/her face until they are comfortable with that and them move on
If you do nothing else, please consider Fiona's advise... I couldn't have said it better!! Check out his website (Chris Irwin) and maybe check to see if there is a certified trainer in your area to help you out.
Best of luck :)
I did the treat thing as well.

Wheels never took his bit. He was very naughty about the whole bridling experience. But he loves food and patience. So I would hold the bit for him and sit and wait. Eventually - because he's also very playful and mouthy - he'd play with the bit in my hand and then once it was in his mouth I could slide the bridle on. Immediately after he had the bit in his mouth he got a molasses treat. Worked like a charm. Now he hunts for the bit so he can have his 'cookie'.
I agree that you should have his teeth checked first. Then get a squeeze-type bottle and fill it with molasses. When you're just hanging out, dribble a little on your finger and rub it in the corner of his mouth...let him taste it and smell it, and look for more. Later when you go to bridle him, dribble a little on the center of the bit, and let him catch a whiff of it....he'll look for it, and you can actually let him drop his head down to your level and pick up the bit himself. Praise him when he takes it, and slip the bridle on. When he picks the bit up himself it won't bang his teeth, and he'll be rewarded.

I had a 16.3 hand horse when I was 9 years old that I had to bridle myself...all he had to do was lift his nose and I was sunk! My dad showed me this trick, and Eagle cooperated within a few minutes...I continued to use the molasses for a while, and eventually didn't need it anymore.

I give my horse a tiny dribble of molasses after riding, when he's cooled down and ready to put up. I squeeze it into the corner of his mouth with a plastic ketchup bottle..he tilts his head and waits...he loves it!
I've been training a two year old not to be bride shy, and I found the 'pressure - release' method to work well. Make it uncomfortable for his head to be up when you are putting the bridle on, and the instant his head goes down, remove the bridle (release the pressure) and rub his forehead, telling him he was very good. A good way to do this is by just using the reins, putting them over his head, and back off, over and over until he accepts that they won't hurt him. Try not to back him up into a corner, as this denotes fear, not acceptance. You want your horse to respect you and understand that you won't hurt him by trusting you, and forcing him to accept it right away will only make him fear you. Take it slowly and reward any progress, no matter how small.

My mare was untrained when I first got her (she was only four) and she accepted the bridle going on her head right away, but taking it off, she threw her head around, just like you described. I found that she was trying to get it off quicker, so I would slowly pull it forward, keeping it behind her ears still, and when she put her head up, the bridle would be still on her head. Soon she discovered that tossing her head made the bridle stay on, not come off, so she would eventually leave her head down when the bridle was coming off. Horses are smart, and it doesn't take long for them to learn something...



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