Have you ever had an instant bond with a horse? Maybe you’ve had a horse that you’ve had since he was born, so he’s never lost trust in people. Or maybe you have a horse that is very distant and you have to work everyday to get the horse to trust you. Creating a connection with a horse will ensure that your horse will try his hardest for you whether you are in the ring, or going on a trail ride with a dicey situation. Here are a couple tips to increasing the bonding with your horse.
- Groom your horse. For me, I could groom horses all day long. It not only is a stress reliever for horses but for me too! Horses groom each other in their natural habitat to bond within the heard. It is the same if you groom your horse. Find the areas your horse love getting scratched. They will appreciate it and come to enjoy grooming time with you.
- Massage your horse. In addition to grooming, learn the basics of equine massage. Any type of form of therapeutic massages or T-touch (moving your fingers in small circular motions) can make your horse relax and enjoy his time with you. Some horses will even lean into you, when you massage a spot that needs work.
- Don’t just go to the barn for work. Although our schedules may be busy, don’t only go to the barn and work your horse. Take a day out of your scheduled barn visits to just spend relaxing time with your horse. Bring him out to a lush area of grass they normally can’t get to or sit in the pasture with him and just enjoy each other’s company. I love to read a book while relaxing in the pasture. You can also groom them while you’re there too!
- Learn to understand your horse’s signals. Learn the different noises they like to make. Observe his facial expressions, how he is holding his head, and tail and watch his ears. I can always tell my horse is relaxed when he puts his head down. When my horse is agitated, he always swishes his tail. Learn what body language your horse has when he’s upset or relaxed or happy.
It could take a few days to earn trust from a new horse, or you could get a horse like me, where it takes months to earn his trust. But once you earn the trust of a horse, you have a friend for life.
How do you bond with your horse?