Bonding with your horse

Whether you’re a new horse owner, a hobby rider, or a high-level competition rider, you’ll know that the experience of bonding with a horse is one of the most special feelings on earth. 
Bonding time is super important, but it needs to be done safely. Bonding with horses is different in one crucial way to bonding with dogs because, as we know, if a horse gets scared, you can potentially get seriously hurt. But when done right, it’s one of the most gratifying experiences you can have as a horse owner!

In this week’s video, I show you some ways to bond with your horse while also maintaining boundaries to keep you safe! Here are some key activities and tips to maximize your bonding time AND your safety!

Grooming

  1. Make sure your horse is respectful when you are grooming them. They should stand still and move away from you when you switch from one side to the other.
  2. Figure out where they love to be groomed, most horses love to be groomed on the withers, shoulders, and chest as that’s where they groom each other when out in the herd.
  3. As you are grooming, take note of any sore or tight muscles. Horses often get a bit sore in their back and hind end.

IMPORTANT. Don’t let them come into YOUR space when grooming. You are allowed to move into your horses’ space, but they are not allowed to move into your space.

Hand walking

  1. When leading, I like to stay between the shoulder and head longitudinally but also have a healthy distance laterally to maintain personal space between you and your horse. 
  2. You should be able to walk with slack on your rope and not have them barge forward. 
  3. Practice halting. When you stop, does your horse also stop? Can you drop their head? Can you back them up?

Hand grazing

  1. Always bring them to the grass, don’t let them to decide to go toward the grass. 
  2. Don’t let them stand on the lead rope. If they jerk their head up, they are restricted by themselves and get a fright! 
  3. Make sure you decide when they’re done, not them!

Even during bonding time, you’re always training. Be aware of your horses’ energy, focus, and be sure they are respecting you! Having boundaries reinforces your relationship with your horse so they will always respect you as their leader. Believe it or not, when your horse respects you, they will also be much more bonded to you!

Have a look at the video of me having a bonding session with Kensington and let me know in the comments if you find it helpful, also feel free to reply and let me know your favorite way to bond with your horse!

Thanks for watching and happy riding!

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