How to keep his head collar on??

Mary Poppins

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Things with Ben are looking up a little. We are on walk only work for the foreseeable future and his right stifle is still swollen and he is 2/10th lame in trot. BUT, it isn't getting any worse and as his body gets stronger I am seeing his old cheeky personality return.

He has always been quirky to catch by the yard staff but when he was in pain he became very easy for them to get him. This is one of the ways I knew he was unhappy. However, he is now pulling his old tricks and literally running round them when they try and catch him. He has always worn a leather headcollar in the field and he needs this on so there is at least some hope of catching him. However his latest party trick is to remove the headcollar overnight. I have tried 3 different types over the last week and he has removed them all on the days that I need him brought in. He even has sores on his face where he has rubbed so badly trying to get it off.

I am not really keen to plait the headcollar in with his forelock, as I did this with his muzzle and he ended up ripping the whole thing out as he is very determined. However, other than this I don't have any ideas on how to stop him removing it. Any suggestions?

At the weekends I come and catch him and on both Saturday and Sunday he came up to me with his headcollar still on. However, it's now Monday morning when the staff go and get him, and he has removed it again. Some people may say that horses cannot know what day of the week it is, but mine certainly can!
 

carthorse

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I don't know is the answer to this I'm afraid! Is there any chance putting a browband on might help by making it a little harder to get over his ears? I doubt it, but there's no harm in trying.

I'm so pleased to here he's looking a bit better & acting more like his old self, like you I used to judge a lot based on behaviour.
 
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domane

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I'd still try plaiting it into his mane. I can understand his annoyance and determination with the muzzle because that impedes grazing so much but a headcollar isn't so limiting and once he realises it ain't budgin' he may not be so persistent.
 
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Mary Poppins

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I don't know is the answer to this I'm afraid! Is there any chance putting a browband on might help by making it a little harder to get over his ears? I doubt it, but there's no harm in trying.

I'm so pleased to here he's looking a bit better & acting more like his old self, like you I used to judge a lot based on behaviour.
I might try that. Two of the headcollars were actually quite tight. I could only fit 2 fingers in and I thought there was no way they would come off.

His behaviour has really changed over the last month. He seems much happier. He is interested in everything, he marches to the field, is sociable and just seems very content. I am starting to really enjoy him again rather than being sick with worry all the time. I aim to carry on like this for another month or so and then he has physio and then I will get the vet to look at him. But considering a few months ago I was seriously thinking we had reached the end of our time, he is far exceeding my expectations. I now have hope again.
 

Mary Poppins

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I'd still try plaiting it into his mane. I can understand his annoyance and determination with the muzzle because that impedes grazing so much but a headcollar isn't so limiting and once he realises it ain't budgin' he may not be so persistent.
He has worn the headcollar for the full 7 and a half years I have had him and he has never had any problems with it before. When I plaited his muzzle in, he ripped out the plait and all the hair with it. I worried that he would cause himself a serious injury with that level of rubbing on the top of his head. He is one determined horse when he wants to be. When he discovered that battery operated electric fencing didn't give him a very hard shock, he started literally walking through it and demolishing everything. That was one of the reasons the yard installed mains electric fencing.

However annoying the headcollar removal is, I am thrilled he is doing it. It shows that he has life and character and gives me hope that this may not be our last summer together after all.
 
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Jessey

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My gut reaction is I'd be looking for another cause for the rubbing, are the bugs bad? Something in an ear? Maybe a fly mask would be more successful. I only think that because you mentioned he'd actually rubbed sores, which seems a bit OTT to get a head collar off so perhaps that isn't really aim :)
 

Mary Poppins

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My gut reaction is I'd be looking for another cause for the rubbing, are the bugs bad? Something in an ear? Maybe a fly mask would be more successful. I only think that because you mentioned he'd actually rubbed sores, which seems a bit OTT to get a head collar off so perhaps that isn't really aim :)
You know that hadn’t even crossed my mind, but what an excellent point. He has worn a headcollar for years with no problem. He comes in all day and hasn’t been seen itching in the stable at all, but perhaps the bugs in the field are getting in his ears and irritating him. I will get a new flymask today and see how he is with that on under his headcollar. Thanks for the suggestion.
 
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Mary Poppins

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If it is bugs, I’ve started using red horse products ear balm which my lad seems to love (once he gets over that I’m not about to kill him by poking him in the ears)
That’s good to know. He is now wearing a full face flymask which goes over his ears so it will be interesting to see if he keeps it all on.
 

Mary Poppins

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My gut reaction is I'd be looking for another cause for the rubbing, are the bugs bad? Something in an ear? Maybe a fly mask would be more successful. I only think that because you mentioned he'd actually rubbed sores, which seems a bit OTT to get a head collar off so perhaps that isn't really aim :)
Well, we had a flymask on last night and both headcollar and flymask were still on this morning! Thank you for making me think about the problem for a different perspective.