4 Ways to Bond With Your Horse
As a horse owner, your bond with your horse is essential. Horses are incredibly sensitive beings, and when you climb on their back, you put your trust in them to keep you safe. They need to trust you too. These four strategies will help you build a stronger bond with your horse so you can have more fun and less frustration in the saddle.
Grooming- Have you ever watched horses in a pasture? They stand next to each other, swatting flies for one another while using their teeth to itch each other’s withers or rump. Grooming is the definition of quality time for your horse. We riders usually rush this part in our hurry to get the saddle on and get going. Take some time to give your horse a proper brushing session the next time you get the chance. Your relationship will instantly feel stronger.
Spend Time In Their Pasture or Stall - You probably spend 90% of your time with your horse doing things you want to do. Trail riding, schooling in the arena, taking lessons, or going to shows are all things we humans love. Take a chair to the pasture or sit right outside your horse’s stall. Bring a book or just sit quietly. Spend time with your horse and be present with them.
Do Groundwork - Groundwork is a fantastic way to improve your communication with your horse. Guiding them through an obstacle course on the ground exposes them to something new, demonstrating that you are a good leader who keeps them safe. Working on things like side passes and pivots will translate to better communication in the saddle.
Ride Bareback - Riding bareback and paying attention to how your horse feels will help you understand how the other's body moves when you ride. If this makes you nervous, you can always use a bareback pad. They are usually suede and offer a little cushion and a lot of friction to keep your seat where it belongs. Riding bareback helps you feel your horse beneath you. Your legs surround them in a big hug, and the two of you are in complete unison.
Spending time bonding with your horse will translate to incredible benefits in the saddle. If your horse is sometimes hard to catch or has a lousy attitude under saddle, you’ve probably been pushing hard to reach a goal without remembering to keep it fun. If your horse is super nervous, spending time bonding will increase the trust between you and help your horse feel more comfortable.
Whenever you reach a point in your riding where you feel like you’ve hit a plateau or are up against an impossible struggle, come back to this list. It’s so easy to forget that we are here for fun, for the love of our horses, and we need to take the time to step back and appreciate just spending time with them.
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