For some, bonding with a horse is like finding true love. You know that special feeling when you first meet someone and you instantly feel a connection? Well, bonding with your horse is kind of like that. Sure it takes time, but if you put in the effort, it will be worth it!
If you want to bond with your horse, confidence is key. If you don’t feel confident around horses, they will pick up on that and not trust you. They need to feel like they can trust the person who is leading them. You would never put yourself in a position where your horse feels it has no choice but to let you take control of them so why should they do this for anyone else?
To build confidence:
- Start small! Don’t try to go from walking around outside without touching or riding without holding onto anything at all in one day! That’s going way too fast for most people (and horses). Do some research on what level riders should be before attempting certain things – I suggest avoiding jumping until after an introductory lesson (at least), working mostly on flatwork prior to jumping etc., and if possible spend time training with an instructor who can help guide these decisions based on personal goals and experience level (i.e., intermediate riders may benefit from different lessons than beginners).
- Make sure safety equipment fits correctly before heading out into dense woods or cross country trails – if something gets loose while riding then how will anyone know what happened?
Get to know your horse
In order to get to know your horse, you need to be able to tell who they are and how they feel.
- Personality: This can be easier than it sounds. Horses have unique personalities that you can learn about if you pay attention.
- Likes and dislikes: Learn what makes them happy, what makes them sad, what tickles their fancy and what annoys them.
- Habits: Do they like their food served hot or cold? Do they like baths? Does it take forever for them to eat their hay? When do they sleep best (early evening or late at night)? Find out the answers to these questions so that when something important happens in their life (like getting sick) it won’t come as too much of a surprise!
Trust is the most important key!
If you’re not sure where to start, the most important thing is to establish trust with your horse. When a horse trusts you, it means that he or she knows that no harm will come from you and will be willing to work with you. Trust is an integral part of bonding with your horse, training your horse, riding your horse and owning a horse in general.
Use the treats!
If your horse is being stubborn and not listening to you, try giving them some of their favorite food as a reward when they do something good. Horses love carrots and apples the most, but you can use any type of treat that will work for them.