Pets & Animal Horses

Befriend Your Horse

Many people are under the impression that you can just train a horse and that is all you need to do to get your horse to do anything you want.
While training is extremely important and proper training will take you a long way with your horse, there is one element that almost always goes unmentioned.
If you want to develop a close relationship with your horse, there is no replacement for spending time alone with them.
Now, I know that might sound strange but horses need a close bond with their owners to develop a sound trustful relationship.
Once you develop this mutual trust, the bond will last forever.
Horse trainers/owners spend hundreds of hours working on control but very few know that spending a small amount of leisure time with them can have a dramatic effect on their attitude.
Have you ever gone out to get your horse and they avoid you like the plague? You have to consider how the horse feels when they see you coming towards them.
If they feel like you are just going to put them through another torture session, chances are they will not be looking forward to it.
I would like to offer a simple technique that I have learned and I believe this can be beneficial to you as well.
1.
Take your horse and put them in their stall or small pen (Example: 8' x 10') and take something small for you to sit on like a water bucket turned upside down or a short stool.
2.
The quieter the area is, the better.
3.
If you have have other horses, put them somewhere else first so the horse you are bonding with can't see them.
4.
Do not take treats, hay, brushes, or any other sort of bribes to get the horse to pay any attention to you.
You want them to act voluntarily.
5.
Remove the rope and halter and toss it outside the stall where they can't see it.
6.
Take your bucket or stool and set it in the corner of the enclosure and have a seat and just wait.
7.
Don't make eye contact or show any interest in your horse.
8.
At first, just ignore them.
9.
The horse may ignore you too at first, especially if you had a hard time catching them in the first place.
10.
In a short period of time, your horse's curiosity will get the best of them (typically less than 5 minutes) and you'll find them wandering over to see what your doing there as this is not your normal behavior.
11.
At first, don't even raise a hand and make sure your posture appears relaxed and non-threatening.
12.
Your horse may walk away briefly but don't worry, they'll be back (they can't really leave anyway).
13.
Let the horse check you out.
14.
If the horse begins to show any signs of aggression, stand on top of the bucket for a moment and look large but remain passive.
15.
Once you feel your horse has accepted the situation and feels comfortable, you may slowly raise your hand and pet your horse briefly.
16.
You may even find that your horse will turn around and back up to you.
As long as this is not aggressive in nature, the horse may acting out of instinct and stand guard as they do to each other when one wants to lay down.
This is their protective nature and they all have it in them.
17.
After doing this for about 15 minutes, your horse should be really calm and the bonding process will have begun.
18.
After the session is complete, show your horse some love by rubbing them and showing your appreciation.
You may even go fetch them a little treat, carrot, or apple.
19.
Repeat the practice about twice a week while NEVER showing any signs of aggression or control during this period.
20.
Your horse will soon realize that just because you're around them, you not necessarily asking them to do anything but asking for a little mutual trust.
The Bottom Line: If you can spend 30 minutes a week with your horse and develop a trusting bond, then your actual training will be a lot more pleasant for you and the horse and you can avoid any fear the horse might have had without this bonding procedure.
There may be a time when something spooks your horse or you end up on the ground (heaven forbid), but it sure would be nice to see that your horse doesn't run off, but actually comes to you to see what's wrong.
Respect and a little conditioned-response can go a long way in establishing a bond that will last a life time.
A happy, un-threatened horse makes horseback riding an extremely pleasurable experience and one you can both enjoy.
Happy Trails!

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