Last Updated on September 28, 2022
If you’re trying to create a bond with a new horse, it is important to understand the basic horse bonding dos and donts. Bonding with a horse is not always as easy as it sounds, as they are naturally distrustful of humans. Let’s take a look at the dos and donts of horse bonding and find out how to make friends with your horse.
What Does Bonding With A Horse Mean?
Bonding with a horse is the name given to the process of creating a mutually beneficial relationship between you and your horse. In effect, this is a friendship where both of you benefit from the bond between you.
Taking the time to bond with your horse can reap huge rewards when it comes to your training and riding activities. It can also give you the warm emotional glow that comes with knowing that your horse trusts you and enjoys spending time with you.
Many horse riders and trainers will tell you that bonding with their horses is the ultimate goal, but some struggle to achieve it. A horse and rider that have a close and trusting relationship can achieve so much more, as they can communicate better and understand each other.
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Horse Bonding Dos And Donts
The aim when bonding with a horse is for the horse to trust you and understand you, and vice versa. This is a close and intense friendship where you can read and understand your horse’s body language and communication signals, and it can do the same to you. This can take time to build, but with some simple horse bonding dos and donts the process can be speeded up.
How To Bond With A Horse – Horse Bonding Dos And Donts
The aim when bonding with a horse is to teach the horse to trust you. Without trust, a strong bond between horse and rider can never be created. This can be difficult with horses, as they are prey animals and are naturally suspicious of anything which may cause them harm.
If you want to bond with your horse, you should never do anything that makes it feel uncomfortable or causes it to feel pain. In order to successfully achieve this, you need to learn to look out for signals that a horse is not happy with a situation. This will enable you to take steps to alter the situation or reassure the horse to make it feel more comfortable.
For example, if you are out riding on a trail and your horse is fearful of an object and reluctant to pass it, never tried to force it onwards. You may well succeed, but the horse will have only gone forwards because it is fearful of you more than the object.
A far better method is to give the horse time to relax and investigate the object he is fearful of. This may involve you dismounting and leading him towards the object, or stepping towards it yourself. This will show the horse that you are not scared or fearful, helping him to build trust in your judgment.
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What Not To Do When Bonding With A Horse
Anything that causes a horse to distrust a human or feels pain will be detrimental to the bond between horse and rider. This means you should always look out for signals that the horse is trying to tell you that he is unhappy with a situation. Disregard these signals in you risk creating a relationship where you are the master over the horse rather than a mutual bond.
This means that you should never shout at, hit, or attempt to punish your horse. It is very rare that a horse is deliberately naughty, although some do have a cheeky for loving temperament. If a horse is refusing to do something, it is because it does not feel comfortable with the situation or does not understand what is being asked to do.
Bonding with a horse requires time and patience, and we need to learn to understand the signals the horse is sending to us. If a horse puts his ears back or switches his tail when we touch a certain area, he’s trying to tell us that that is not comfortable for him.
Summary – Horse Bonding Dos And Donts
So, as we have learned, there are some very straightforward horse bonding dos and donts that we should try to follow. Horses will bond quickly with someone they trust, particularly if they enjoy the activities they carry out together. Horses will not bond with someone if they feel safe or uncomfortable with what they are being asked to do.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on our horse bonding dos and donts! Do you have a unique way of quickly creating a bond with a new horse? Or maybe you’ve had a horse for some time, but still feel you have not managed to create that unique bond we all strive for? Leave a comment below and we will get back to you!
How long does it take to bond with a new horse?
The length of time it takes to bond with a new horse will depend on the temperament and previous experiences of the horse. A horse that is relaxed and comfortable around humans and has already been handled and broken to ride will quickly bond with a new person. Bonding with a semi-feral or unhandled horse can take much longer.
What is the fastest way to bond with your horse?
The fastest way to bond with your horse is to spend time with it, carrying out fun and rewarding activities. This will help your host learn to trust you and associate spending time with you with things it enjoys.
What should you not do with a horse?
You should never do anything with a horse that makes it feel uncomfortable and safe. Horses are prey animals and can react in very violent and unpredictable ways if they feel trapped or in danger.
How do you bond with difficult horses?
Bonding with a difficult horse can take time as you need to earn the trust of the horse. You will need spend time carrying out very basic activities with the horse using a reward based training system.
Kate Chalmers is a qualified veterinary nurse who has specialized in horse care for the vast majority of her career. She has been around horses since she was a child, starting out riding ponies and helping out at the local stables before going on to college to study Horse Care & Management. She has backed and trained many horses during her lifetime and competed in various equestrian sports at different levels.
After Kate qualified as a veterinary nurse, she provided nursing care to the patients of a large equine veterinary hospital for many years. She then went on to teach horse care and veterinary nursing at one of the top colleges in the country. This has led to an in-depth knowledge of the care needs of horses and their various medical ailments, as well as a life-long passion for educating horse owners on how to provide the best possible care for their four-legged friends.
Kate Chalmers BSc (Hons) CVN, Dip AVN (Equine) Dip HE CVN EVN VN A1 PGCE