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sayyadina

halters for sensitive head

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One of my minis is kind of hypersensitive to things generally, including halters. She leads very well but will rub her head a lot if left with a halter on. She always winds up rubbing her head a lot when waiting for her turn with the farrier. This has happen with both a nylon or rope halter on. I'm always right there since the only time she's loose with a halter is when the farrier is here. She had a grazing muzzle w/ halter attached and also rubbed herself in that. She's better in the rope halter than in the nylon, but I'm not turning her out in a rope halter w/ muzzle attached for safety reasons.

 

I don't know if this is just her or if there are other minis like this, but she also loves having me scratch behind her ears and all over her face. Her full sister likes to have the sides of her head scratched, but that's it. Her sister is totally fine in her halter.

 

Being a mini and all, she needs a muzzle during turnout. Which means she'll need to wear a halter while she's out. I've seen more ergonomically designed halters for larger horses but not for minis.

 

Are there any halters that work well for sensitive minis?

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For one, most horses will rub their faces when they have a halter on. We have a stallion that will rub the halter off if he can. All of our horses love their faces scratched, ears are different for each of our minis. We have two stallions that don't like their ears messed with.

Second, unless your horse is being prepared for showing or has laminitis issues, why use a grazing muzzle. All our minis are out in pasture 24/7, year round. Unless they are in their last part of pregnancy (pasture has fescue) and when babies are real young. We only have about three that got a tad overweight, all others were in excellent condition. Even my business partners 22 year old gelding.

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Hey Sayyadina,

 

I use a muzzle on one of my laminitic mares that does not require a halter. Think the brand I have is "Roma" , You may be able to purchase online.

 

Many horses in general do not like having their ears touched and some a head shy in general.

 

How big are your turnout areas ?

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Have you tried a leather halter or fleece halter tubing over the nylon halter?

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As far as why grazing muzzle, her full sister has EMS and has had a bout of laminitis. While this mini was on the thin side when she was younger, she's gained weight and is doing much better. She's now at the same age as her sister was when she had her laminitis issues, and I really would like to prevent this mini from going through laminitis if I can.

 

I have a pasture network that's about 8 acres in total. I also live up north and no matter what we seem to wind up having some kind of environmental issues every year that stress the grass. If its not a drought year then its cool. I also have my own health issues and really would like to prevent laminitis instead of take a risk.

 

This mini is a bit weird. You know that "you've found the right spot, more please" thing a horse does when you've found the right spot? This mini does it when I scratch behind her ears. I've had horses for a while and know they generally don't like their ears messed with. This mini is a bit different.

 

I spent a couple of hours yesterday looking for halters. I was hoping to find a padded leather halter or fleece tubing for a mini. All I came up with were either a padded nylon halter or a plain leather halter. She has had a bunch of allergy issues, so I'd prefer to avoid padded nylon.

 

If anyone knows where to find a padded leather mini halter or fleece tubing for a mini halter, I'd really appreciate it.

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Try HorseLoverz.com for the fleece halter tubing. EBay had them too, if you don't mind using eBay.

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Good on you Sayyadina for being cautious :)

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How is she with you putting your fingers in her ears? sometimes there will be something down in the ear that itches and they'll act like you describe. Horses do generally have sweet spots so it's probably nothing... could be she just learned early on how to get a halter off but ruling out a cause may be of help to you and to her.

I've found that with one's that will rub their heads on me in ecstasy there will be gummy gunk down in the ear, also there could be some debris in there which caused the gunk so it goes deeper every time it's rubbed. Also, there's dry skin. Dry skin will cause horses to rub their heads especially when something like a halter, touches it. I'm sure you know how an itchy ear or head is... I can't imagine not being able to scratch that itch myself!! :yes Sometimes it's just dirt accumulated, then again it may be a tick or mites or plaques... If you think there may be some mites or a tick put some ivermectin on your finger and massage it on the inside of the ear.

Many things can cause head/ear itching such as a yeast or bacterial infection going on. Ears are pretty much self-cleaning but sometimes they do need a good examination and cleaning.


I also have to mention this since I experienced it myself and it was the first thing I thought of here today. I have a mini mare who would love me to rub the top of her head her face and behind her ears, and eventually would just about crawl in my lap when I'd rub in the ear. She'd really beg for it with a halter on which I thought was because the head strap would rub but not hard enough - BUT as I learned later hers was her way of trying to scratch between her udders. Yup that's right, there was so much smegma build up between her udders she'd beg with her head for the scratches. She's the only one I've had that reacted this way, usually a mare will rub her backside but not this one. I realized I needed to clean hers when I cleaned anothers who presented with classic symptoms.

 

Check a few of these things and see if your mare responds to the halter a little differently, it could be there is something wrong.

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This is the same mini who I trained to let me brush her teeth when she had a tooth issue. She'll let me do pretty much anything if food is involved. She's a mini. :yes I certainly can see if I can check out her ears. Clicker training is a beautiful thing. I just have to make sure I do it where her sister can't see or she'll beg.

 

She loves having me scratch behind her ears, on top of her head/forelock area, and pretty much everywhere on her head.

 

This same mini is allergic to rice, wheat, corn, soy & barley. Fly spray and a couple of other things too. Hence me saying she's a 'generally hypersensitive' horse.

 

She's not one who gets a lot of crud in her udder. That's something I deal with regularly for all my mares, and its never affected how she is with a halter.

 

Debby-LB, any suggestions on how to go about looking at her ears? Just a gentle finger? Flashlight?

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It's hard to see all down in the ear even with a flashlight (unless a person is showing and clipping all the hair out). If I thought a light was needed I'd just leave that to my Vet. What I do is just use my finger, give a little scratch in the ear and rub your finger around in there as deep as you can go and feel in the crevices and check for gunk, excess wax, dirt, odor..etc. Don't force and if you feel something don't keep pushing cause you don't want to push dirt further down in the ear. If it itches in there they'll lean into you hard.

 

All the hair in there is what protects the inner ear so I leave it alone, even if it's dirty looking. I only clean inside the ears if I detect a problem. Usually if there is something bothering them in there they'll shake their head, especially after you've rubbed it, or after they've rubbed it on something themsleves. If there is a problem that would require you to maybe have to use a cream then I'd shave the upper inside of the ear because that cream will natually attract all kinds of dirt and debris that will then cause further problems. One of my minis is really hypersensitive to the darn gnats, chiggers and midges so I feel for you.

 

Since she's sensitive and has allergies to so many things, you probably already know this but allergies and sensitivies cause imflammation and probiotics are wonderful for this. I'd have her on a daily probiotic.

 

Sorry I got off on a tangant lol

Tough-1 sells nylon halters with the padded nose and crown.

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