Groundwork & Bonding?
I didn't really know what to call this thread.
So there's this horse at my barn Mac, who follows his owner around like a puppy. His head is RIGHT there at her shoulder; she never needs a lead rope or anything.
Now lately, I've just been spending time with Beau on the ground. He seemed to be really getting to dislike our time together while riding. So I just sat in his pasture for like 2-3 hours with a chair and read a book. I stayed over by the fence so as not to intrude. He did eventually come up to me (as well as the other 3 horses). They all looked shocked.
Two days later, I went out again and did that. But I was with my friend, so I took him into the indoor arena and stood with him in there while she rode. We also went into the outdoor arena and did that.
Today, I went to the field and my friend and I just sat down in the middle of their giant hay bale and chilled while the horses ate. They didn't really seem to mind. Then we took them inside and sat on them bareback (no halter or anything) and kinda just let them roam. However, there was about to be a lesson so we took them to the outdoor. There, I put his halter on and tied the lead to either side and did some light WTC work. He was being very good so I got off and told him how amazing he was and unclipped the lead and let him walk out next to me.
So once I got off of him, he began to follow me. Note, he has never done this before. I turned in a circle (away from him) and he followed at my shoulder. I turned toward him, we did a whole circle that way too. He stopped when I stopped, moved when I moved. It was the most amazing feeling in the world. Of course, once we left the ring, he got a tad distracted by the grass, but he did still do it some.
What other things like this could/should I do to keep our relationship heading in this direction? I want him to love me and to see me as a friend, not just someone who rides him all the time. I want him to enjoy and look forward to spending time with me.
My Poco is literally a puppy dog. I do alot of ground work. Work on the lunge line, just leading him around asking to halt, back up, walk on, working away from pressure. I dont ride much. He is right there with me threw everything I do. As soon as I dismount from riding he follows me. He follows me in the pasture. Hes constantly having to be right their with me. It took me about 3 years to realize that riding is only a small percentage of a bond that a horse and rider have. My horse is everything to me and I think it is extremely vital to just get out in the arena or round pen and just spend time together. I dont just let him walk around I do ask for him to lunge but at times I will ask him to halt and then to come to me and he does it so willingly. I am a very vocal person and I go by voice commands more than anything and letting off pressure when he does good. I am also very hands on and I to lots and lots of scratching.
I think you've already found the answer...variety....Horses are smart and do get bored doing the same thing all the time...work, play (easy/fun work), grooming, and just socializing are great ways to mix up your horse's routine.
I'm going to be teaching him to lounge soon. As of now he stands there and looks at me like I'm an idiot lmao D:
The best way i know is lounging. Lounge for awhile and then see if he'll turn in and face you. Then go rub his head and if he follows you let him, but don't look back. When he stops following you make a big circle to the back of him and then start lounging him again. I've done it many times and it's very similar to "Join-Up"
I think lunging is an art. It can be used for so many different things. Trying out new tack, bonding, to rid of excess energy. When I first taught Poco to lunge I was told I was wasting my time. Once you start lunging, your horse learns to read your body language better and they pick up on alot more without having stress behind it. I think its a good way to get a horses mind moving forward and to openness.
I agree with the lunging thing.
All I have to do is grab a whip, and Athena will lunge around me on her own without the lunge line. I never really use the whip (i'll kinda wave it around if I want her to go faster), but she's learned that the whip means lunging time. She must enjoy it if she comes so willingly. :lol:
Just act like his friend, I take the horses I am working with on walks, if i need to go grab my grooming stuff from the place i keep it i bring the horse with me, the two mares i'm working with i treat as my best friends, they follow me around, i follow them around, i sit in their stalls with them, in their paddocks with them, and they seem to understand it that i love them and want them to love me back, and they do. an example is the other day i wasn't feeling well (the general common cold) and i had woken up and went to the barn and felt the urge to sit down and rest because i had become out of breath, and in my life i have never had this happen, and so i sat down on jewel's hay and her pasture buddy, chelsea, generally tries to cause problems and boss jewel around which can sometimes lead to me getting pushed around also, (shes doing better about me being the boss though) and so i was sitting on some of jewels hay, and chelsea decided she wanted to eat it, so she started coming towards jewel and jewel stood right in front of me very close and put her ears back at chelsea and reached towards her when she came to close and actually BIT chelsea! she defended me against chelsea, and i was amazed because jewel is so easily intimidated by chelsea and jewel defended me. :) it was a great feeling, and thats when i knew all the time spent after school walking the mile and a half down the road to go and lead jewel around and groom her and hang out with her was worth it. i've known people who say "oh they're jsut horses" and think that they can't love people, but i beg to differ with them all the time because over and over i have known a time a horse has saved me. a tb mare i used to take care of during the winters when she didn't race, dream, i was leading her back from her turnout pen one morning and all of a sudden before i opened the gate she reared and started acting up, and then i couldn't understand why, and there wasn't much i could do about it once she reared she was too high for me to reach her to calm her down, me being only 4' 5" and 9 years old, so she kept rearing all the way up and then she did that a few times then ran in a circle and then came back to me and reared a few more times. so i decided to let her stay in the paddock a few more minutes not understanding what was going on and began opening the gate to let myself out and she actually pushed her way between me and the gate and stood in front of it and Would Not Budge. shortly afterwards a retired jockey came running out of the barn to make sure i was okay, turned out there had been a coyote in the barn isle way. I never would have known. Dream saved me from a potentially very dangerous situation. Sometimes people just overlook things adn think the horse is misbehaving when they are trying to tell you something but you need to turn to them and figure out what they are tryin to get across to you. Treat your horse like a best friend and they will treat you the same back.
You need to look at your horse and view things in his direction. If you had someone come out and see you every day and had a work out with you; did that EVERY day, for weeks. Would you be looking forwards to seeing him/her?
Now pausing that idea, what if this person were to come and see you but instead of working out they took you shopping, went to get your hair done, went to a movie or chilled with a group of friends? now would you be looking forward to seeing this person??
Same idea here. Your horse IS NOT going to want to see you if what you have in mind is work. To you it might be fun but not to him. All you need to do is either change your routine around (trails, change from riding indoors to outdoors), spend time just grooming, take him out for a walk somewhere leading him (not undersaddle), trailer him somewhere.
Any time you spend together can become bonding time you just have to take it seeing it in his horsey view. The first horse I owned was a super sour mare. She hated everyone and everything but she was dead broke and did as she was told. With time she started to actually enjoy her life and looked forwards to going out to do things. We don't give these poor horses much say :lol:
So I can just go chill on his haybale thinger in their paddock and that's cool? I'm not """"""""too close""""""""" or anything?
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