My horse was beaten and now is nervous of the bit in his mouth

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Hi, my 18hh horse was previously beaten and he hates people going near his ears. (This makes it a pain to even put his bridle on as he is so tall and is already scared of it) Due to being beaten he is scared of everything. Even just walking out the stable can be hard sometimes. When I ride he is very nervous of having the bit in his mouth. I don't want to try bit less as I want him to learn and understand that the bit is not a big scary monster. He is slowly improving but I wondered if anybody had any ideas, suggestions or advice on where to place my hands and elbows and general things like that when I ride him. Thanks xoxox
 

BSL

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Have you tried smearing honey on the bit to start with, so he learns its a nice thing to be bridled rather than scarey. I won't try to advise you re riding because there are alot better people on here than me. He needs to learn trust again, and that will take time, patience and consistency. Also regards his ears we have a little mare who wouldn't let us touch her ears to start with, slowly, slowy she has come round. I wish you well. You will get there i'm sure.:)
 

Sukistokes2

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My new horse shows signs of having been beaten too. Nothing as bad as your lad I think. I wouldn't do anything to special, just keep going calmly and quietly and with patience and slowly he should come around. I could not even carry a crop while on my lad, now six weeks later I can carry a short crop and wave it around. ( it's mainly to knock away branches with thorns on anyhow) he has learnt to trust me and your boy will too. If you make too much of it the trauma will stay.

However honey is a good idea or a treat after it goes in.
 

Pearlsasinger

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My friend has a pony who was very sensitive aroundvhercears, she had aural plaques. Friend bought an endurance bridle which could be built up on the pony's head, with gentle perseverance and patience the pony became much happier about being bridled.
 

mytwofriends

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My old boy was beaten in a past life, plus left to crib so much so that his front top teeth are worn down to the gums (yet he can still graze short grass - don't ask me how.)

Unfortunately, due to the beating causing him to be ultra head shy, and I suspect the discomfort of a metal bit touching worn down nubs of teeth, I was never successful in bitting him again, however over the years he allowed me, and only me, to play with his mouth and gently look at his teeth.

I didn't want to stress him unduly and used to ride him bitless. He was a gentleman to ride and is now an old gentleman enjoying his retirement.

I know you'd prefer to persevere with bitting, OP, and honey is a good idea, but if it ends up becoming a battle each time, don't discount trying a bitless bridle.
 

Lambkins

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With one that doesn't like its ears touched .. I tend to start by undoing one cheek piece .. So the bit is hanging down.. Then you can get the headpiece on without an issue.. Then pop the bit in .. And do the cheek piece back up .. Then they learn there is no issue/ argument putting a bridle on ;)
 
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ycbm

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Buy a military style bridle (you can Google it, also widely used long distance). Put the main piece on as a headcollar and then clip the bit on afterwards, with something nice on it of you need to.
 

paddi22

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i'd a headshy sensitive type and going bitless for a while was brilliant. It kind of eased him along the path to getting a bit back in again. I also had to do tons of training to get him over being headshy. I worked with an nh guy who got him confident to have his ears handled and lower him head for headcollar, and then bridle, and the dr cook bridle was brilliant for that as it was easier to slip on and the bit didn't freak him out. After a while i was able to use a normal bridle and add on the bit after.

Your issue really isn't the bit though, it's getting him to be relaxed handling on the ground. Once you crack that, the rest will slot into place. There's no perfect placement of hands that will help sort the issue out. It's an issue that has to be brought back to the start and fixed.
 

huskydamage

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Time and patience, touch the head every day. I used to rub my girls head and give her a treat also wave my arms about near her head as she would flinch at any sudden movements near her head. I do ride her bitless now as she never learned to like bits but she will be bridled now,when i got her should would run to the back of the stable with her head in the air. My YO tried to help me once as it was such hard work and said someone has been beating this pony round the head! I have no history on her so i wouldn't like to say I really don't know ,but she was extremely head shy. Now you wouldn't ever know that. So it is totally possible to fix this just needs working on every day :)
 
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