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post #21 of 33 Old 10-16-2013, 12:19 PM
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I absolutely believe there is a bond. When I am apart from my horse for longer than a couple of days, but everything else in his schedule remains the same, he gets ulcers. How else could one explain that?
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post #22 of 33 Old 10-16-2013, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by jaydee View Post
I will disagree on the training being more important than the bond. I've owned and worked with many horses over the years and its very evident that many horses will work much better for the person they have bonded with than they will for another equally good rider. Our cob does everything
better' for our son who she sees as 'her human' and she spends the first week of him going back to college in a very sulky mood and I've known many horses that would only be caught by their owners and horses that were well trained but still acted up with some people and not with others
I was once married to someone who was in the mounted division of the UK Cavalry and they allocate each 'rider' a horse because they believe that a better partnership is produced that way as horse and rider develop a bond - the police in the UK do the same thing. I have also seen many big tough army men in tears because 'their horse' had been written off as no longer fit for service - in those days the horses were always shot when this happened and not retired to a life in a nice grassy field.
You really think that these horses are treated just as work animals?

I would like to compare a good working relationship with a horse to a marriage between two people.

You might be able to get things done without liking each other but it sure is sweeter if you do enjoy each others company.

Just passed my 32nd anniversary with my wife by the way.

"The greatest strength is gentleness."
- Iroquois Proverb
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post #23 of 33 Old 10-16-2013, 12:23 PM
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BTW - a kissing horse has nothing to do with a bond, let alone good training.

"Make the right thing easy and the wrong thing...well, ignore it mostly."
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post #24 of 33 Old 10-16-2013, 12:25 PM
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When Flo was in quarantine when we moved here - lovely place, super experienced people - she went off her food, also got ulcers, paced around her stable (this is a horse that is totally relaxed in a stable), paced the fence in the field and didn't want to 'know' anyone. Our other two were fine.
She arrived here, totally new surroundings after a long journey, I took her from the woman who'd transported them, led her from the trailer into her new stable and she immediately started eating her hay and was completely relaxed and happy again.
bsms - that video was not meant as an example of good training but to show that at least the UK cavalry do not treat their horses like work machines but that they do interact with them, give them treats and allow a bit of character. That horse had to behave impeccably in public and knew when he was allowed to ask for treats like that and when he wasn't - so actually training does come into it.
Yes they do form a bond with their given horse.
You may not feel that you have a bond with your horse that counts for anything but for many people its a very important part of horse ownership
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Last edited by jaydee; 10-16-2013 at 12:30 PM.
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post #25 of 33 Old 10-16-2013, 12:39 PM
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I really like that observation, BSMS, the delusion that "bond" = control. It doesn't.

I think my horse likes me and that we have a connection, but there is no question that she will take care of just about any rider you put on her back and try to make sure they stay on. No bond there -- just training (and a very good nature).
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post #26 of 33 Old 10-16-2013, 12:57 PM
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The word "bond" means different things to different people. I don't believe in a magical or special bond, but I do believe that we get to know each other (horse and owner) in a very intimate and particular way which many people would call a "bond". My Tb is always indifferent to me, but when ridden she knows me very well and I can reassure her as she needs at times and we work well together, my haflingers could not be more friendly and "affectionate" and cooperative but Hattie will voice her concerns if she feels I have been unreasonable with a well timed buck
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post #27 of 33 Old 10-16-2013, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by jaydee View Post
...You may not feel that you have a bond with your horse that counts for anything but for many people its a very important part of horse ownership
Where do you get that idea? Particularly since I've obviously posted a few thousand posts about Mia, and rarely mention Trooper?

In Jan 2009, a few months after I got Mia, we were going down the street when a guy revved up the two-stroke engine he was working on inside his garage. It gave off a loud, high-pitched squeal. Mia bolted, happily toward my home. I got her stopped, tried to dismount, and she exploded in mid-dismount: half-rear, 180 spin, leap, all when I had one foot in the stirrup and one above her rump. I went flying, and the back injury I got is only now fading away.

As I pulled myself up, slowly, she was racing away. I shouted, "Mia, you $%@&$!" At the sound of her name, she spun 180 again and galloped back to me. I thought I was about to be trampled, but she skidded to a stop, put her head next to my chest, and stood trembling while waiting for me to make the bad things go away. I used her for support in limping back to the house with her.

She already viewed me as "He Who Makes Bad Things Go Away". Yet in Nov 2011, when I hired a professional trainer to work with Mia, the trainer's initial evaluation after 4 sessions was that some horses have very deep fears, and Mia might never be safe to ride. Even a few weeks later, after she decided to treat Mia as an unbroke horse, she warned me that Mia might never be safe outside an arena.

As of now, she is an OK trail horse with another horse (Trooper), and we're working on short solo trips. She has managed to stop within 10-20 feet after covering her hind leg with cactus spines.

If I didn't have a strong emotional attachment to Mia, she would have been sold years ago. The trainer told me Mia was lucky I bought her, because most of her clients would have dumped her at the auction long ago. For my part, she is undoubtedly the reason I became interested in horses. All the other horse riding I've done has been with the goal of getting good enough to be able to ride Mia.

But it is TRAINING that is turning her into a safe, responsive horse. We had the emotional attachment in 2009, but the training done since Nov 2011 is what is making her a good horse. After years of hearing my family tell me to sell her at any price, they now talk about laughing when they caught her doing XYZ. I don't know how long it will take, but I expect in another year or two she will be a wonderful trail horse - safe, responsive, willing, and calm. Since she is 12 now, and might reasonably be ridden into her late 20s, I might be able to ride her on a trail when I'm 70.

Training. Bond. Two separate items. You can have both, neither, or either. But without training, you have an unsafe horse. Unless, of course, you happen to be shipwrecked at sea with a black stallion...
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Last edited by bsms; 10-16-2013 at 01:15 PM.
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post #28 of 33 Old 10-16-2013, 02:27 PM Thread Starter
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Quote: "If I did not have the strong emotional attachment to Mia she would have been sold years ago". Yes BSMS and rightfully so. Why take the risk!

But in keeping her and working on making her a safer ride, your attachment to the mare has become stronger and even more interesting to you. Of course, a docile, a well behaved and well schooled horse makes a sensible purchase - that's if you can find one. But showing your own horse to a visitor and saying: " but she is not a novice ride" somehow gives you a buzz. That gives you a reason for not letting the visitor ride your horse - doesn't it. Mia is yours, and be honest you like it that way.

My Joe was just like that until he whirled and bolted down a narrow tarmacced lane. Then from the ground, when I was again conscious, I called him some very impolite names. I always knew he was a trifle dangerous but I thought he liked me and that belief lasted until later on, I saw him ride off into a thunder storm under the one person whom he really had respect for. But that is horse riding, isn't it? There's nothing quite like a shot of adrenaline.

More to the point, I believe that if you mount a strange horse and you don't get the feeling in your groin that the horse is safe or interesting to ride, then you should dismount and ask for another horse. But I have an excuse - I've been old and fragile for a long time.


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post #29 of 33 Old 10-16-2013, 03:20 PM
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I don't know if it's about a bond or a vibe. Some people just have a natural vibe that the horses seem to respond to.

For example, we have a new barn manager. She's nice and efficient. But she gives off this uncomfortable, rushed vibe. The horses don't seem to respond to her as well. The previous barn manager had a very pleasant/calm vibe. Always cheerful and sweet. The horses loved her! Many of the horses at the barn have been upset since the management change (pacing...calling out to other horses, tearing up their stalls, spooking more, one even had a bout of colic).

They are such sensitive creatures.
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post #30 of 33 Old 10-16-2013, 05:43 PM
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I don't think I ever said that you could replace training with bonding - but I have no doubt in my mind that if a horse bonds with you it will give you more trust and a more willing attitude and that makes training a whole lot easier
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