I don't feel a bond with my horse - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 42 Old 12-03-2013, 12:17 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Apr 2010
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It took me a little over a year to really have a good bond with Cinny. And yet sometimes still I feel like we are both on different wavelengths. I would try to figure out some things he really likes. Are there places that he really LOVES to be scratched? Also doing things that don't necessarily pertain to riding can help. Going for a hand walk, if you still have grass sit and read a book while he grazes. Find ways to "be part of the herd" so to speak. Herd members hang out together, but they don't necessarily nuzzle each other 24/7. But sometimes ACTING like a herd member by just hanging around in the turnout, or even on a stool in his stall with a book can make a difference. Pretty soon he will be coming to you with curiosity as to what YOU are doing :)
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post #12 of 42 Old 12-03-2013, 12:23 PM
Green Broke
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A bond to me means I know my horse's buttons and she knows mine and she respects me as her leader. My TB is a grumpy soul and shows no affection, but when ridden we can read each other like a book.
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post #13 of 42 Old 12-03-2013, 12:48 PM
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I can't stand all this "liberty" nonsense on instagram. Especially all the yoga on horse back, laying under your horse, hanging on their necks. It's a 1,000 lbs animal with a brain and feelings who could kill you, not a jungle gym or a stuffed animal...HELLO!

Ignore the nay sayers... It's the internet.

Like the others said, some horses will never be the cuddly, in-your-face, types. If you want to improve your relationship with your horse do things he is going to looks forward to (like hand grazing, grooming or walks if he likes any of those) and ground work to improve your leadership skills. Lunging and other ground work exercises (moving his hip, leading over grass, backing, teaching the horse to "come here", etc) can help establish yourself as his leader.
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post #14 of 42 Old 12-03-2013, 04:46 PM
Join Date: Sep 2013
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Hi, I think you are confusing showing affection with training.

A horse that does incredible things is a well trained horse. Yours would probably do it too if you knew how to train him for it.

Cuddly horses are usually cuddly with everyone, from moment one, strangers and all. I have this kind of horse. I think we have a good relationship, but in truth he loves to be petted and cuddled by anyone.

Some horses don't like to be petted and they don't look at you like you are the best thing ever. They won't change, like ever. They can behave well, tolerate you, relax in your presence, but that's the end of it. If you have one of those horses, he doesn't really hate you, he just doesn't like interaction with humans.

Always remember that horses don't think like us, and they don't read our mind. Your horse doesn't know that you would like him to be cuddly, or to do the stuff you see on instagram. You can teach him to do some of the stuff, and accept that he'll never do other things.

If you want a super affectionate horse... buy one. If you want to go bareback, bridle-less, learn to ride bareback, teach the horse to answer to your body and not the reins. You don't need love to do those things, nor can love help if you don't have the balance to ride without saddle, or if the horse doesn't have a clue that you want him to go left/right/kneel/whatever. It's training.
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post #15 of 42 Old 12-03-2013, 05:03 PM
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I agree. I've had dogs all my life, and when I got Leo as my first horse almost three years ago I thought "how much different can it be?". Way different.
Our perception is influenced by the stories of the little kid who tames a traumatized horse / wild stallion, who consequently becomes the kids best and only friend. More recently also by the liberty and natural horsemanship videos that are everywhere.
Some horses just aren't like that. My gelding isn't particularly affectionate, either, he would prefer other equine company over mine anytime. But we've come a long way in respecting each other since we started working.
I think the most important thing is to keep an open mind, be grateful for the things the horse DOES offer, and constantly improve the working relationship, rather than go after some internet/movie ideal that might never happen.
For cuddling on the couch, I still have my dogs :).
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post #16 of 42 Old 12-03-2013, 05:15 PM
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My sisters mare is the exact opposite of lovey. She hates to be petted and any unnecessary touching and seems to get irritated when people baby talk her and try to give her extra attention. In the saddle tho there was never a more attentive mount, she's soft and willing and takes care of her rider.

Some horses just don't like the extra attention, I don't think it has anything to do with a 'bond'
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post #17 of 42 Old 12-03-2013, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Regula View Post
But we've come a long way in respecting each other since we started working.
This is important.

When I first got Gibbs I didn't actually like him much, but as we have worked together, I have come to respect him, he has learned to respect me, and we are now 'bonding' by that I mean I like him, and he puts up with me.
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post #18 of 42 Old 12-03-2013, 06:30 PM
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My friend is a rancher in Utah. He once owned a horse (the sire of my Trooper) who was a mean horse. Hated people, tried to bite them, etc. He also loved to work the meanest & roughest cattle, and he seemed happy to be ridden 50 miles a day for several days running. But his rider needed to be careful to avoid being hurt.

After some years of use and thousands of miles, my friend realized the stallion hadn't tried to bite him in a long time. In fact, he seemed almost eager to go do work. And as always, the meaner the cattle, the happier the horse was. And no matter how hard you worked him, he would never give up.

BTW, Trooper was sired when the stallion broke down one fence and mated a purebred Arabian show mare thru another fence.

When old, the stallion had come to accept other riders, and could even be ridden in 4-H events, although he was never 'friendly'.

When the stallion finally died, my friend's kids gave him a picture of my friend riding the stallion, framed by hair from the stallion's tail. And if you ask him, he'll tell you he has already ridden the finest horse he will ever meet... Bonds come in different styles, sometimes. And some bonds come with time, miles, and a mutual understanding between two different species of animals.

"Make the right thing easy and the wrong thing...well, ignore it mostly."
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post #19 of 42 Old 12-03-2013, 07:52 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
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LOL, my Dad's horse Pokey is 9 this year. We've had him since he was a yearling and he didn't start to "bond" with my Dad until this summer. He's a really touchy and antisocial horse. Doesn't like to be touched or handled or approached. If he doesn't know you, you have to be a real horseman to even get him caught.

Always before, whoever was catching him would have to run him up into a small pen or trap him in a corner and be very cautious and slow to catch him. He would tolerate human presence....barely. However, once he was caught and saddled and you were mounted and ready to go, he is a great horse. Obedient, responsive, willing, but a bit spooky.

Now, Dad can actually just walk up to him in the paddock and catch him. He's begun to seek out Dad if he's in the barn doing chores. He even surprised me the other day by coming to stand near me while I was filling his water tank (by near, I mean that he was within about 15 feet). He still doesn't like to be petted or brushed, but he tolerates it with minimal squirming. Before, he couldn't stand still while being brushed.

Sometimes it takes time to build a bond...and other times you have to redefine "bond" in your mind. To some horses, bond means spending time together and getting scratches in all his favorite spots. To other horses, bond means having a respectful and productive working relationship with no fuss and muss.
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post #20 of 42 Old 12-03-2013, 08:03 PM
Green Broke
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Great story Bsms!

Time, consistency, observation, respect, acceptance and trust are all part of developing a relationship with a horse. At least in my experience.

My heart horse T was not an affectionate horse. She did her job and did what was asked, mostly with a good work attitude. Mostly because, being an opinionated mare there were moments when she gave hers. However, after a brief discussion would do as asked. She was calm, sane and loved her food!

It wasn't until many years after riding and then owning her that there was a slight change in her. She showed her trust and dare I say affection for me by putting her head flat on my chest. Normally T never wanted anything or one restraining or holding her head. Then she started to give me horse hugs by putting her head on my shoulder and leaning her head towards mine. This was huge!

Walka however , is a love bug and prefers to be near/with me no matter what I'm doing. Food is not his motivator. Sadly, neither is work! So while he is quite affectionate, I'd prefer more work ethic like his mom's (T) and we are working and making progress in that direction. Work can be fun, and I have to keep everything interesting and yes, challenging for him.

Misty, my new addition is a riot to me. I do not like to pester a horse when they are "on their own time". After a short time though, she seems to be much like Walka in that she wants to be where I am (maybe I'm her security as she is a little tense in nature), but also has a wonderful work ethic! Joy oh Joy!

Of course I do not have any misgivings about my horses "loving" me. I believe they see me as a leader and security. These are very important to their safety to them. It's as it should be I think. If I want an animal that looks at me with adoration in it's eyes, I will get a dog.
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Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor each morning the devil says, "Oh crap, she's up!".
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