How To Bond With Your Equine
What creates the bond between you and your horse?
Getting to know your horse can be a rewarding and unique experience. It's fulfilling for your equine and emotionally healthy for you to learn how to associate with your horse on his level. Think of it as a way to go beyond science and into the realm of equine social psychology.
Why bond with your horse? If you have a good relationship with your equine on the ground, it will set you up for a more pleasant riding experience later. The time you spend creating the link to his psyche will provide the foundation for a firm bond that will last until his last day on earth.
Suggestions For Creating a Bond With Your Horse
Learning to think like your equine and communicating on his level is the key to developing a strong relationship. There are many ways to reach out to your horse. I've listed a few suggestions below.
- Spend time talking to him in a calm voice. Sing softly while you stroke his neck. When you see his eyes half closed, you know he's relaxing.
- Groom him regularly. Don't be rough with the curry comb or bristle brush. If it feels good to him, he'll look forward to this time with you.
- Give him a good rub-down with a terry cloth towel. He'll not only love this, it's good for his circulation. Rub his legs, as well.
- Spend quality time with him in a small, enclosed area like a round pen. Use the time to rake the ground or perform maintenance on the fencing while he's with you. He won't always associate the round pen with hard work.
- Work with him regularly, on the ground, in the round pen. Lunge him and create body signals he recognizes.
- Reward him often with your voice. The tone of your voice will go a long way to let him know what pleases and dissatisfies you. Treats are okay, but you don't want to depend on food to create the only bond. You want him to like you.
- Be a consistent presence in his life. Feeding, spending time with him, and riding on a regular basis creates solidity in your bond.
- If your horse lives with you on your own property, take a trip outdoors just to say hello. If you board your horse, stop by to see him, as time allows, and visit with him, pet him and talk to him, without riding. It helps him create an association with you that doesn't include riding only (the work/ride relationship).
- Surround your horse with lots of human interaction. It's a great idea to expose your equine to different people, not only to ride him, but to be in his presence. It helps to confirm that there's no need to fear.
- Involve your horse in equine activities with other equestrians. The company of other horses and people while engaging in the sport you love will make it a more enjoyable experience for him.
- Walk freely around his area, yet stay in your space. Let him know you're comfortable in his domain.
- Understanding Horse Behavior and Emotions
A Horse Training Article by Cynthia McFarland with Linda & Pat Parelli tells us that when emotions affect our relationship with our horse, it can have either a positive or negative effect on your equine.
Other Suggestions for Bonding With Your Horse
World renown equine expert Pat Parelli tells us that our thoughts, emotions and actions impact our horses. That's why it's never a good idea to ride our equines when we're angry. The'll pick up on your mood through your body language and voice.
Sadness, on the other hand, can have a totally different outcome. Many people seek solace in the presence of their horse. How do we know that our horse can't sense our grief?
It's normal for horse owners to experience fear at some time. Pat Parelli advises "If you have fear issues, playing with your horse on the ground and doing things with him that don’t necessarily include riding can help you gain confidence and move past that fear."
Bonding With Your Equine Is Fulfilling
The most satisfying aspect of creating a long-lasting bond with your horse can be summed up in the following words:
"I love my horse. I can always count on him to listen without judging me.
He sees my tears, listens to my problems, and eagerly approaches me in the pasture. His trusting eyes have seen my grief, his silky ears have heard my pain. His musky smell is comforting when I'm depressed. I kiss his velvet-like nose with affection as I stroke his muscular neck.
His stubborn demeanor amuses me as I try to lift his feet while he plants his hooves like concrete to the ground. The occasional buck is never from meanness, but usually the result of fear. His long sigh of boredom, after I place another child on his back, is like a kid forced to do his chores.
His temperament remains increasingly docile as he gets older. Another reminder he's here to stay.
Why do I love my horse? It's easy to figure out."
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Do You Have a Bond With Your Equine?
Creating a bond with your horse is gratifying and valuable. Once you break down the walls of communication between the two of you, you're setting yourself up for a connection that's going to last the rest of his life.
Now is the time to start creating wonderful memories with your horse. Touch him, hug him. Get a lead rope and take off walking with him, just the two of you. You'll look back on the experience, one day, and remind yourself what a special part of your life he played.
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