Last Updated on September 29, 2022
One thing that many novice horse riders start to wonder is how do you tame a horse? Is it easy to befriend these magnificent animals and earn their trust, or are they naturally wary? If you’ve got a horse that has never encountered humans, where do you start with taming it? Let’s find out!
Is It Easy To Tame A Horse?
If you’ve ever spent time with domesticated horses, you will know that they are normally comfortable and at ease around humans. However, this was not always the case, and horses still retain some of their natural wild instincts!
Horses are prey animals and living in the wild were at risk of being attacked and even killed by predators. They naturally regard humans as a predator and we need to take time to earn their trust and reassure them that we mean them no harm. Overcoming these natural instincts is by no means easy, and, many centuries ago, taming a wild horse was a lengthy and difficult process.
Over the years, horses have started to lose their distrust of humans, but they are still naturally wary. This means that taming a horse is not always an easy process, but the level of difficulty would depend on the age of the horse as well as its previous interactions with humans.
Luckily, once a horse is tame and trusts humans, it tends to remain good friends with the human race for the rest of its life. Horses have quickly come to regard humans as their friends rather than predators. They rely on us for their food, and most horses enjoy spending time with people.
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How Do You Tame A Horse?
Taming a horse involves teaching it to trust humans and no longer regard us as a predator. To do this, we need to work with the natural instincts of the horse and become part of his herd. This does not mean living outside with a group of horses, but interacting on a basic level with your horse that he understands.
To earn a horse’s trust, we must gradually build up our interactions with it without doing anything to make it feel uncomfortable or unsafe. For a truly wild horse, this may start with something as simple as encouraging the horse to graze nearby while you sit on the ground. This then progresses to teaching the horse to accept being touched and handled.
How Do You Tame A Horse? Most trainers work with a reward-based training system. Initially, this reward may be food-based, but over time you can work towards other rewards such as a kind word, stroke, pat, neck scratch, or even clicker training.
Horses do not respond well to negative threat-based training systems, and it’s very rare to find a horse that is deliberately naughty. If a horse does not react in a way that is desirable, it is normally because it feels uncomfortable with a situation or is in pain.
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How Do You Tame A Horse From Birth?
Taming a horse from birth is much simpler than taming a wild horse, but comes with its own difficulties. Nowadays, most riding horses are born into domesticated situations and have contact with humans from the day they are born. This means they will naturally trust humans and not regard them as a predator.
Even though a horse cannot be ridden until it is around three years old, handling it from birth will help to create a strong bond with humans and also enable you to teach them basic commands. This will start with teaching a young horse to come to you and allow you to touch it over different parts of his body. You could then progress on to hull, to training the fault and teaching it to walk with a handler.
Covering these basics of training will reap rewards later on in life when the time comes for the horse to be backed. The horse will be tame, will trust humans, and have a strong bond with its rider. It will also understand basic commands which can then be used to help it accept the direction of a rider.
Summary – How Do You Tame A Horse?
So as we have learned, when making a plan of how to tame a horse, we need to take many factors into consideration. The best methods to use will depend on the age of the horse and its previous interactions and experiences with humans. The foundation of any attempts at taming a horse should focus on earning its trust and creating a strong bond between horse and human.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on how to tame a horse! Have you ever been lucky enough to adopt a semi-feral horse and go through the process of taming it? Or maybe you’ve got some questions about the best way to train a foal without it becoming boisterous and overfamiliar? Leave a comment below and we will get back to you!
How long does it take to tame a horse?
The length of time it takes to tame a horse will depend on the age of the horse and its previous history. A foal that has had frequent interactions with humans since birth will be very easy to tame and will trust humans easily. A wild adult horse may take many months or even years to tame.
How do you get a horse to like you?
Most horses are naturally curious and will want to try and interact with humans. They like to have fun and enjoy games and treats. If you want a horse to like, you spend time with it doing things it enjoys, like grooming, massaging, and going for walks.
Is it hard to tame a horse?
As horses are prey animals, they are naturally suspicious and can be hard to tame. However, with time and patience they can learn to trust humans and will form a strong bond.
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