Good relation with a horse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 06-11-2011, 11:08 AM Thread Starter
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Smile Good relation with a horse

I just wondered what makes a horse-rider connection a good one in your opinion? I mean, does the horse always have to be obedient or does it have to neigh as soon as you're coming to its field? Or should the horse, e.g. stay calm in a frightening situation?

Do you think that you have a special relation to your horse? If so, why and how does the horse show that it likes being around you?
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post #2 of 8 Old 06-11-2011, 12:45 PM
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IMHO, a "good" horse/human relationship is one in which the horse recognizes the human as the leader of the herd of two. That doesn't mean the the horse is always perfectly obedient or behaves like a robot. Normal horses will always "test" the leadership ability of higher-rung horses and people, to make sure that they are up to the task. The frequency and intensity of that testing depends on the individual horse and human.

That relationship is built on trust that is built on respect. It's not all sunshine and butterflies, but, for the horse, the ideal leader is one that is fair and consistent in expectations and requests, thus eliminating confusion. Boundaries are clear, the right thing is easy and the wrong thing is hard. It's similar to a healthy parent-child relationship, IMHO.

As far as little things like whinnying at "their" human's approach and the like, that depends on the individual horse and his idiosyncrasies. A horse/human team can have a wonderful relationship, and the horse might be aloof in behavior. I've seen some owners with very buddy-buddy horses that were horribly disrespectful and did not have what I would call a "good relationship."

I would characterize my relationship with my horse as as good, but not extraordinarily "special". Although he is still what I would consider green, he is very respectful and well mannered in general, and very rarely tests my leadership. As far as whether or not he enjoys my presence, he does whinny when he sees me, and seems to genuinely enjoy his job. Would he cross a mile of broken glass to get to me? Probably not. Does he "love" me? Hard to say, as who really truly knows the type and extent of equine emotions. He honestly tries everything I ask, and that is plenty for me.

A stubborn horse walks behind you, an impatient one in front of you, but a noble companion walks beside you ~ Unknown
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post #3 of 8 Old 06-11-2011, 12:48 PM
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This is one of those questions that really isn't so black and white. It depends on different things for everyone. For some it could be the neigh when seen, for others, nothing but obedience, etc etc. There's just too many variables between horse and human to really say what makes a good relationship/bond with a horse. There is also a difference between just a relationship and having a bond within that relationship. That said, above all else, a horse SHOULD be respectful and obedient (of course obedience often comes with time and training) regardless of if you have a "bond" with your horse.

Did I feel I had a bond with my horse? Of course. Im sure everyone does, to some extent. For reason's I won't get into here, I did feel I had a special bond with my horse, but I also spent alot of time working with her and just spending time in general with her. Was this a superficial bond? To me, not so much, but it probably was to her. I don't really think anyone can have the true almighty black stallion bond with their horse to be perfectly honest, but I've no doubts people can get pretty darn close to it. I do feel Nadine and I were close to it, but of course that was in the eyes of a bias human.
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post #4 of 8 Old 06-11-2011, 12:56 PM
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I have been working with a trainer who uses the natural horsemanship method and starts horses also. When she is joining up with a horse, it is easy to see the connection that the horse makes with the person he is working with. I know that my connection with my horse deepened greatly when we joined up. He seems to see me as the leader of our herd of two and follows me when I am with him, even without a lead on him.
There are videos on youtube about joining up (also called hooking up) if you are unsure of what this is?

Make the wrong things difficult and the right things easy ----- Ray Hunt
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post #5 of 8 Old 06-11-2011, 01:11 PM Thread Starter
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@bee222: I'm more into dressage and trail riding but I know what joining up means.

I think that horses are happiest when they are on a meadow with other horses (they know). I'm also quite sure that the horse-human relationship means more to us, than to a horse. Still I like it, if horses neigh as soon as they see me or if they walk towards me and are willing to go to the barn with me. That shows me that the horse generally likes being around me and enjoys being ridden/working.

He honestly tries everything I ask, and that is plenty for me.
I think that's all you can ask for. :)
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post #6 of 8 Old 06-11-2011, 01:16 PM
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It sounds like you have a hood erlationship with your horse if he does what you describe!

Make the wrong things difficult and the right things easy ----- Ray Hunt
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post #7 of 8 Old 06-11-2011, 02:31 PM
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Spend non-work time with your horse. I often go to the barn just to hang out with my horse, give her an extra scoop of oats and a handful of carrots. I groom and pet her and talk to her. Some days are light work days. Some heavier. Some days we work more on the ground. Some days we ride. I am there almost every day. I see some weekenders who come only to make their horses work, and they have to chase them around the turnout. Well, I would run too, from someone who always meant work. Mine runs to the fenceline and up and down, calling to me, when I get there. When we work, she puts her head right in the bridle, and she is ready to work for me because I have made myself leader but a kind, patient leader who doesn't always have her working. Be something more than a saddle ornament. Be a companion to your horse.

Last edited by DSJ46; 06-11-2011 at 02:33 PM.
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post #8 of 8 Old 06-11-2011, 03:29 PM
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dsj46 totally agree!!!! can't believe my spelling was that bad in my last post

Make the wrong things difficult and the right things easy ----- Ray Hunt
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