I heard a nice young man yesterday tell someone to use a treat to solve her bridling problem and go on to describe how to do that.
The trouble is, the horse was scared witless, so a treat is never going to solve the problem. It might paper a thin veneer over the surface of the problem if the timing of her treat is REALLY good and it might make it possible to get the bridle on for a little while, but sooner or later that solution is going to bite her on the butt and it’s never going to solve that particular horse’s problem.
So how could she solve that horse’s bridling problem?
She has to LISTEN to the horse in the first place. She has to open up to understand the root CAUSE of the problem and solve it there.
And therein lies the answer to every problem, not just bridling.
You have to understand the root cause of a problem and solve it there.
What might that root cause be?
This is not a bitless bridle article, but Cynthia Cooper’s bitless bridle may well be an answer if the bit itself is what’s causing the horse’s issue with the bridle – photo above and link below.
It may be what happens AFTER the bridle goes on, that frightens the crap out of that nice little horse.
It may be that someone has twitched him or grabbed his ear to force him into compliance, so he’s sensitive about his ears and that old stress and tension needs releasing.
Or may be that the first person who put the bridle on wrestled it on, tricked him or otherwise scared the crap out of him and that stress and tension too, wants releasing.
It may be a painful bit. Educating ourselves around bits is worth a series of articles all by itself.
It could be a teeth problem, with the horse needing the dentist.
It may be a poorly fitting bridle that’s pulling on his mouth and hurting before she even picks up the reins. And yes folks if you were taught to have those two wrinkles in the corner of the mouth, then… like me… you were taught a load of crap. We can either discuss that in the comments or make it a topic for another day, because there’s a lot of detail in the “why” we don’t want those wrinkles in the corner of the horses mouth.
And here’s where I get even more blunt, but keep reading to see why I can get away with that. It may be that she has a shit pair of hands and shouldn’t be in a bitted bridle in the first place.
Why can I get away with that? Because … I… used to have a shit pair of hands and I found out how to solve the problem in such a way that not only do I have a beautiful seat and good hands even though I’m old/er now 🙂 and very unathletic, but I know how to find them again every time I get on a horse and I know what I have to do to get them back when I lose them. And you can learn how to find a beautiful riding seat that IS the source of good hands, in some of my on line programs.
Back to the bridling problem
These are only a tiny snapshot of things that might cause a horse to reject his bridle, but can you see why shoving a treat under the horse’s nose, no matter how well timed, isn’t going to solve ANY of those causes of a bridle problem?
One of my favorite sayings is that every problem is an opportunity for a deeper bond with your horse and bridling problems absolutely come into this category. Solving problems with a deeper bond is what we’re all about here.
If solving a bridling problem – indeed any problem – whilst at the same time creating a deeper bond with your horse appeals to you, then have a look at our training programs here. Start with the free lessons the 9 Keys to Happiness with Your Horse if you haven’t had them yet. There’s a few horse problems that you can start solving differently, right in those free lessons. And if you like this gentle and super considerate of the horse approach, then you can expand your skills and knowledge and join this wonderful community of like minded horse people by moving into the paid programs – which start at just $7 and range up to a bucket list type program.
Today’s feature photo is a dressage horse wearing Cynthia Cooper’s bitless bridle. I’m open to recommending others, but it’s the best bitless bridle I’ve come across and what I use at home. You can find more about them here.