Beginner here: How to endear a horse to me? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 06-09-2016, 11:35 AM Thread Starter
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Beginner here: How to endear a horse to me?

I'm taking my first English lesson in 30 years tomorrow! I've been reading tons, have been glued to YouTube videos, etc. My question is what kind of human behavior is best for horses? What can I do to begin to have a bond with my lesson horse? I'm very calm and "at home" around horses, even though I haven't ridden in years, I hung around at the barn where my daughter wrote when she was little. I guess I'd like to show my appreciation for whatever horse I ride and switch things up a little by my attitude; the poor lesson horses must get bored to death!
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post #2 of 19 Old 06-09-2016, 11:40 AM
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The only thing evil needs to thrive, is for good men to do nothing. - Edmond Burke

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post #3 of 19 Old 06-09-2016, 11:41 AM
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Try not to hang onto his mouth and kick him, that should do it :)

Joking aside, I found that school horses rarely form any kind of "bond" with students. If it does happen, it usually takes years of consistent riding, grooming and spending time with them.

Enjoy your lesson!
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post #4 of 19 Old 06-09-2016, 11:52 AM Thread Starter
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Does the typical barn appreciate help with grooming the horses? I'm thinking that - once I have mastered grooming - I'd like to be there between lessons, making myself useful and getting to know the horses. Do barns offer lessons in exchange for grooming? I'm not able to muck stalls due to a low back problem, but I can do other things!
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post #5 of 19 Old 06-09-2016, 11:58 AM
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I have been working with a group of rescue horses for a couple of months...once a week. Only one has shown any signs of seeing me as anything more than just another human. You have more experience with horses than I do, but as for me, I had to change my expectations.

I do not expect any of these horses to bond with me. My goal is to treat them with respect, and maybe help them learn to treat people in general with the right kind of respect.
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post #6 of 19 Old 06-09-2016, 12:16 PM
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Horse's bond with the people that take care of them on a day in day out basis. Don't expect to form any sort of a bond with a lesson horse or one you only see occasionally.
Horse's do feel secure around people that aren't afraid of them but at the same time are firm, fair and consistent. It's something that comes with experience
For now, when you have your lesson, listen to everything your instructor tells you to do and don't try to 'make it up as you go along' or do things differently because some Youtube video told you so. Your instructor should know each of the horse's in his/her charge so will know what they respond best too.
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post #7 of 19 Old 06-09-2016, 12:21 PM
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Most horses appreciate a good scratch at their withers or at the front of their chest. But most lesson horses get their job by being able to be calm and quiet and not taking anything too personally.

And you are one of many people they get to move around in a day. It is a very different life to be a lesson horse compared to a personal riding horse. And they can be slightly detached, so don't take it personally.

Most barns won't take money off for grooming. They might for hard work like stall mucking, bucket scrubbing and the sweat work. Hard work always needs to be done, but horses don't HAVE to be groomed, and they get at least a quick brush before their lessons.

Congratulations on your lessons and HAVE FUN!!!
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post #8 of 19 Old 06-09-2016, 12:26 PM
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Just remember horses learn from the release of pressure, not the pressure itself. And stay gentle but firm and don't let them get away with what you don't want them to. They are herd animals and need a leader but since they are domesticated its up to you to be their leader:) welcome back to the horse world!!
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post #9 of 19 Old 06-09-2016, 12:27 PM
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Calm, considerate, confident and mindful behavior is best for humans around horses, IMO.

Horses don't bond the same way people or dogs or cats do. They're not built that way mentally. They will never try to rescue you from a burning building or anything like that. A horse can certainly learn to associate you with good things though. Scratches and treats are the most common but be careful about giving lesson horses treats - ask first. Horses can get pushy when it comes to food and become dangerous without meaning to.

Treat your lesson horses kindly but at the same time retain firm and fair boundaries.
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post #10 of 19 Old 06-09-2016, 12:27 PM
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You know the Indians used to say a little "than you" to the soul of the animal they'd just killed, to thank him for offering his body to them for food. Undoubtedly, the animal doesn't hear that, nor will it matter , since he would be killed anyway, but there's an element of cosmic balance in doing that, as it keeps the "user" grateful for what he takes. So, just treat the horse fairly and thank his spirit when you are done, to keep things in balance.
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