Anyone have any good ideas to build a better relationship with my new horse? I do know about join up, I love that exercise, just looking for new ones.. An any relationship things for her to come to me in the pasture when called, follow me around, etc.. Thanks!:-)
First and most importantly, be a good leader. Horses want to be near one that is consistent, fair, but firm when necessary. Second, is spending time. Not just working or riding but grooming and just hanging out. Don't always make time together be work. Make it pleasant so they enjoy being with you. Last but very helpful is food and treats. Be careful to not allow them to be pushy, that's where the leader part comes in.
I'm not a big fan of the bonding idea. First needs to be respect. Second is trust which can take time. With those, you will have your bond.
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When I go back home (i live abroad), my neighbour has horses, and she always literally plays with them. So she'll run around the pasture with them, let them play with oversized balls, etc etc. There is a safety issue where a horse may accidentally kick you or something so you have to be careful but, she enjoys is and so do her horses.
My horse has been injured since shortly after I bought her. So we've had some bonding time. I just hang out with her a lot. Groom her, hand walk her, I'll pet her and just let her follow me around (on a loose lead) when I give my sister lessons, basic groundwork (she can't do much due to her injury). I like to turn her completely loose in the arena or roundpen. Now she'll follow me around (though occasionally gets distracted). This comes in handy because the other day I walked waaay out in their field (which is HUGE) and realized I forgot her halter. She followed me most of the way back (until the herd took off to the gate and she attempted to catch up with them).
You ride the training, not the bond. The bond comes later, through the training, through time spent and shared experiences.
Groundwork. Lots. Make sure she walks politely, stops, turns and backs up when you do. Make sure you can 'send' her in directions and change her path. Be able to disengage her haunches, forehand and back her up.
And good way to get yourself kicked in the head too, as one of these types found out, to much Youtube amusement.
I was hyper excited to do this sort of thing with my new horse. Now I just let him be a horse, lol. You can put your horse in the cross ties every day and give it a good groom. If you want your horse to come to you in the pasture and follow you around, you could probably achieve that by bringing a treat out to pasture.
Before anyone else reads my post and says it - don't over treat! Right now, when I go to my horse in the pasture, I give him neck scritches in his favorite spot as a reward. He does come up to me, but sometimes I think it's more for him to show off to the herd. "Yep, yep, guys, that's my person over there. Hate to leave you but I'm needed for more important things"
Overall the entire herd at my stable is well mannered and optimistic that a human coming into the pasture (usually moreso if the human doesn't have a halter) means good things, so going out to the pasture usually gets all their attention you end up with a whole crowd of horses following you around the pasture.
Bonding with a horse is.. IMO.. a lot of.. unmitigated nonsense. A horse is livestock. They are not dogs. You train them and you ride them. you Train them and you drive them. The minute your horse you have had all by itself for a few years can be with another horse off they go. That is the nature of horses. They have a brain the size of a big Walnut.
In the end a great horse can kill you (not even intentionally).
Running around in a pasture playing with your horses is just plain foolish. If you want an animal to bond to you and to play with you, get a good dog! If you want an animal to ride, drive or show or move cattle, get a horse.
nothing will get a horse more interested in you than being the one who feeds him. Nothing.
But, a bond such that the horse will be more respectful and obedient to you than anyone else comes from riding them and doing it with intention and clarity , as a good leader. for most of us, that takes a long time. For some exceptionally skilled horsepoeple , it can be immediate. but, they put in their time, too. back when they were learning.
With horses, it just takes time. Everything takes time. That's why it's so fascinating. If you could do it overnight, then what value would that be? good wine takes time, Koolaid you mix up instantly.
A lot of great advice. The best being train your horse, and be that horses leader. The "bond" is trust and respect, and both of those are developed through good, solid ground work first and foremost. Over a course of years you may develop a strong bond with your horse, but always remember what Elana said. The best horse in the world can unintentionally kill you without a moments notice. but good, solid, and continuous training is key!
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