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New Horse Bonding?

This is a discussion on New Horse Bonding? within the New to Horses forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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        09-21-2013, 04:53 PM
      #11
    Yearling
    Bonding time can be as simple as grooming, walking around and allowing the horse to see things and graze...there doesn't have to be an "active" type of bonding that might look like training..like sitting on the horse in the stall..which agreed, is not the most safe.

    Talk to the horse, groom, give a massage. It is more a familiarity thing at first than bonding, which, as was pointed out, takes time. Find the horse's "special" spot..they all have it somewhere where they particularly like a gentle scratch or rub.
         
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        09-21-2013, 09:12 PM
      #12
    Weanling
    I got my boy about 6 weeks ago. We are "bonded" now. I spent a lot of time grooming him, doing ground work, sitting with him and talking to him. He can still be a butt-head, but much less now that he trusts me.
    MaximasMommy likes this.
         
        09-21-2013, 11:17 PM
      #13
    Trained
    Hmmm...how do you get a horse to trust you? I'd say by being trustworthy. Leading around on a lead rope is a simple activity. Most horses will do it without much problem, and it gives them a chance to see you taking charge and gives you a chance to learn their likes and dislikes.

    If you are not a 'take-charge' sort of person, become one around a horse. Ask for help, if need be. Think about a few simple rules, enforce them rigorously, with absolute consistency. To me, simple means things like: Don't invade my space - you push into me, I'm shoving back. No pinned ears - I'm not ASKING you to tolerate me. Don't lean on me when I pick up your hoof, and in return I'll support it well and place it back on the ground instead of dropping it. No mouthing - I'm not a treat. In fact, I never carry treats. I give carrots about once/month. When I lead you, I set the pace and direction. If you get SCARED, we'll work on helping you get past your fear. But if you BALK, the Hammer of Thor is coming down. I require mine to get out of my way when I go to feed them. In return, I let them eat in peace once I go away from the food.

    I'd recommend talking with your trainer about ways to show your horse you are tough, fair and consistent. Your trainer may react to the word "bond" like I do & break out into hives. I've seen too many people - and I don't teach or train ANYONE - who think bonding is a substitute for training. And that sort of thinking gets people hurt or killed.

    Horses despise wimps. Horses are confused by inconsistency, and most have an innate sense of proportion. My horses will run to the far side of the corral if I cuss, but Mia stood still today while I pulled cactus thorns out of her leg with pliers. One of the great joys of owning a horse is that over time - 5+ years for Mia & I - they figure out if you REALLY care about them or not.

    Our little arena is only half-enclosed, and the summer rains are growing patches of bermuda grass on it. After today's ride, I let Mia (and Trooper) loose and sat down at the side while she grazed on the patches of grass. She wasn't going to take off across the neighborhood. If she got scared, she'd head either to me or to the corral. But I'll be honest. We had a lot of rough times, and my back still throbs about 1/week from when she bolted during a dismount in Jan 2009.



    It isn't that different from a human friendship. There are folks who can fake being your friend and fool you for a time, but over the long haul, it is the friend who stands with you in the tough times that you learn to trust.
         
        09-22-2013, 01:13 AM
      #14
    Yearling
    BSMS: Was that photo just taken from a strange angle, or does the righthand horse really only have two legs?

    For the OP, I'd add a couple of things. First, don't expect some sort of magic touchy-feelie "bond". I don't say it's impossible, but it's about as likely as two humans falling in love at first sight - and staying that way.

    Second, give it plenty of time. My horse didn't even like me when I first got her. It took literally months to get to the point where we were really comfortable with each other.
         
        09-22-2013, 03:39 PM
      #15
    Foal
    He arrived yesterday. I hung out with him in the grass by the barn while they got a s tall ready. (They had been really busy all day) I was really happy to be the person to get to say "hey this is your new home". I talked to him softly about whatever I could think of and said his new name a lot. Then when his stall was done I just hung out by it and scratched his mane and petted on him when he came over.

    I came to the barn this morning and hung out by his stall again while they brought in horses. His previous owner showed me how much he loved the base of his tail being scratched. So when he swung his butt around while I was petting on him, it kind of took me a minute but I realized he was saying "hey you know what I like!". It was so funny scritching on his tail because he started wagging he whole butt back and forth.

    After all the horses had come in, they took him out to the pasture. I would have done it but I was snapping pictures anyway. He wandered to the other end of the pasture, nosed at the other horses over the fence a little, and then came running back to me. My trainer came over and said "you have to back up from the fence because he wants to be with you and he needs to go run and eat some grass". So of course inside I was like "he likes me! *fawn*" I took pictures and some videos from afar. He kept trying to play with the other horses over the fence. He rolled in the dust. He ate here and there. I got a really amazing video of him charging up the field and coming to a stop at his full glory and whinnying out to the horses in the stable. It looked like something out of a fantasy movie.

    When I went back up to the gate, he pretty much came running up to me again so my trainer had me put his halter on to bring him in. Then she asked if I wanted to walk him around the outdoor ring. Ya of course!

    I could tell he had had quite the day so far so I put him back in his stall to chill and eat hay and maybe take a nap. (he yawned a couple times ya know)

    I'm going to go by later when the entire barn isn't there messing around with their horses so I can brush him and walk him around the indoor ring. I do feel like we are bonding already. I'm getting a feeling for his personality (playful, wants to be looked at, but noble and just generally awesome).

    I'm glad I have my trainer there to guide me. He was giving me Eskimo kisses, rubbing his nose on mine, and she said "he could bite your nose off!". I was like uhh yea he can yikes! And she also showed me the right way to lead him around so it's safe.

    I'll post the pictures and stuff later tonight :) My trainer was telling people as they came in "yea she just got him yesterday, he's a Lipizzaner" and they were all "ooo, ahh". One little girl asked her mom what a Lipizzaner was and her mom told her "oh honey it's those horses that stand up on their back legs and dance" hehe
    gunslinger, autumnheart and geeber like this.
         
        09-22-2013, 03:51 PM
      #16
    Foal
    I like this a lot!

    I really appreciate this advice! I've been trying to develop myself with an awareness of this. I haven't given him any treats so far. Once he arrived I didn't see a reason to. Just being able to be a presence he can trust is feeling good and right. Being able to be the one taking him out of his stall and guide him around and show him stuff feels good.

    I'm new to horses but I've been around dogs professionally and learned how to be a good leader. The horses are bigger and have different body language but I know how to do the uh uh we're not going to play that game! And I know when to ask for help before I screw something up.

    Even if I think I'm doing something ok, as long as it is new I run it by my trainer as soon as I can to make sure I'm on the right track. She's so patient with me.

    We are certainly not skimping on the training. Me and him!


    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bsms    
    Hmmm...how do you get a horse to trust you? I'd say by being trustworthy. Leading around on a lead rope is a simple activity. Most horses will do it without much problem, and it gives them a chance to see you taking charge and gives you a chance to learn their likes and dislikes.

    If you are not a 'take-charge' sort of person, become one around a horse. Ask for help, if need be. Think about a few simple rules, enforce them rigorously, with absolute consistency. To me, simple means things like: Don't invade my space - you push into me, I'm shoving back. No pinned ears - I'm not ASKING you to tolerate me. Don't lean on me when I pick up your hoof, and in return I'll support it well and place it back on the ground instead of dropping it. No mouthing - I'm not a treat. In fact, I never carry treats. I give carrots about once/month. When I lead you, I set the pace and direction. If you get SCARED, we'll work on helping you get past your fear. But if you BALK, the Hammer of Thor is coming down. I require mine to get out of my way when I go to feed them. In return, I let them eat in peace once I go away from the food.

    I'd recommend talking with your trainer about ways to show your horse you are tough, fair and consistent. Your trainer may react to the word "bond" like I do & break out into hives. I've seen too many people - and I don't teach or train ANYONE - who think bonding is a substitute for training. And that sort of thinking gets people hurt or killed.
         
        09-22-2013, 08:44 PM
      #17
    Foal
    Talking Video!

    I took tons of pictures and videos but this was the cream of the crop.

    Maximas making an Entrance - YouTube
         
        09-22-2013, 09:35 PM
      #18
    Foal
    I came back to the stable tonight at dinner/night night time. As soon as he heard me walk in and say hi to him he came up to his stall door and said hi to me! He rubbed up alongside the door and arched his head down so I could scratch along his neck. He had his leg all cocked and happy. I took him to the indoor arena and walked him around both ways. I made sure to walk him like my trainer said with his head alongside me so I could see him. I talked to him the whole time, but I would say "whoa" randomly and stop. He was a really good boy and stopped as soon as I said Woah. After we walked around awhile I took him back to the stable to brush him. He wasn't too sure about the concreted grooming station. Since I was alone in the stable right then (staff were there but out in the field) I didn't try any amazing training, I just took him to a less intimidating station that was on the regular dirt floor. I brushed him and put some ointment on the scratches he had from playing around at his old home. Then I gave him a treat for being such a good boy and put him back with fresh water and hay. I really feel like we are getting to know each other really well! My trainer says we should wait until after I own him to ride, because he hasn't been wearing shoes and the soles of his feet are on the ground. He has good feet so she says we won't put shoes on him unless we have to, and then it would probably just be front shoes. But anyway, I'll have lots of time to get to know how to work with him from the ground before we go to riding. I like taking it slow and careful.
         
        09-22-2013, 10:52 PM
      #19
    Started
    Hello and Congratulations to the OP. He is a handsome boy.

    I was an adult new to the world of horses some while ago and I remember how it was - trying to learn everything so quickly! Here is my advice for what it is worth:

    You are in charge now, and it is your job to learn from everyone you can. Listen to your trainer, and to other trainers, and to other horse owners. Listen to the farrier and the vet. Ask questions of all of them, never be afraid to ask questions. Listen and learn and gradually you will be able to distinguish between the good, the bad, the ugly and the foolish.

    I still ask WHY so much. I always make sure the person knows that I am asking because I want to learn - not because I want to criticise. Often you will be surprised to discover that the reason WHY is so much more enlightening and you enter into a much more interesting discussion about horse care.


    Oh - and I am now going to give some unsolicited advice about horsecare too . Scritching a horse isn't quite the same interaction as Scritching a dog: when the horse pushes his butt at you demanding a scratch he is very much treating you as an inferior. Tempting though it is to 'love him and scratch him', you will be better off in your relationship with him if you tell him to turn his butt AWAY from you immediately. When you are grooming him, scritch him then if you want - but do it on your terms, not his.

    That is one big, handsome, flouncy ego of a horse you have there and you want to make sure that he knows your are boss
         
        09-22-2013, 11:09 PM
      #20
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Shropshirerosie    
    ...when the horse pushes his butt at you demanding a scratch he is very much treating you as an inferior. Tempting though it is to 'love him and scratch him', you will be better off in your relationship with him if you tell him to turn his butt AWAY from you immediately...
    Gotta disagree on this one...sort of. A lot depends on how the rump is presented. Swung directly at you with some hostility - time for the Hammer of Thor to fall. But slowly turned near you, but not directly at you, with a pleading look - my mare does this sometimes. There is no doubt in her mind that I'm boss, and there is no hostility in it. She sometimes just loves to have the area between her left hip (almost always her LEFT hip) and tailbone rubbed as hard as I can press.

    For 1-2 minutes, she'll sway back and forth and darn near moan. Then she collects herself, swings her butt away, and typically turns her head for a short rub...then strolls away.

    If she was a strange horse, or if I had any doubts about her, I wouldn't allow it. That is where it is nice to own a horse for years. They learn you & your likes, and you learn theirs. If I'm on the other side of the corral panel, I'll let her turn her butt completely at me, and then she really rocks back and forth. If I stop, she'll look back with an unmistakeable pleading in her eyes. But after 5+ years together, I know her and her moods.

    Would not think of doing that with a strange horse, though, nor with a new one.
         

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