11-17-2011, 03:23 PM
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The best way I bonded with my horse was by not pushing him too far too fast, but also by not letting him get away with anything.
My bond with my horse has taken at least 6 months to develop, and it is not a strong bond yet, but there is definitely something there. He had a hard past, and so he was pushy, semi-aggressive, and just overall not fun to work with. I rewarded him for the small things, and did not put up with the bad. I also worked him on the ground for a solid 4 months before going any further with saddle training.
My horse gets overwhelmed easy, so I went at HIS pace of learning, which is a LOT slower than mine. He is now almost up to speed with me, and has cut out virtually all his bad habits. I established my leadership while also proving to him that I would not expect more of him than he can handle in one day.
I also always change up my routine with my horses. I almost never do the same thing 2 days in a row. One day I will go out, pet him, feed and water him, and then turn and leave. Some days I'll sit in the pasture and talk to him. Other days I will do a full out grooming session. Still others we work in the arena, pasture, or go for a trail ride, either under saddle or just on the ground.