Originally Posted by mysticalgirrafffe View Post
Thanks for the advice
Anyone have any good ideas for a daily routine filled with bonding exercises?
Also does anyone have any tips and tricks for natural horsemanship?
Wellll. I'd like to think I have a bond with every horse on our place. Each 'bond' is to a greater or lesser extent, depending on the horse and their personality quirks.
But Trigger is m'boi. He's the squirrley, untrusting, hot, reactive, 'crazy' horse, the one my husband thinks is going to get me hurt.
BUT I TRUST HIM. And he trusts me. I spent an entire year getting him to this point, and while it's no longer as intensely needed as it was at first, I still have to take time, regularly, to be in his company to keep that bond strong.
Best thing you can do is be in your horse's company, as often as possible, daily if need be, asking nothing of them. Or you can simply groom them. I used to softly sing along to Seven Spanish Angels, on repeat, because for some reason that causes Trigger to just melt and when I hear that sigh and feel him fully relax, when I see that lower lip quiver, his head lower, and his eyes get that dopey glazed over, half asleep look? That's the best.
I used to tie him up to the post outside my tack room, when I was first getting started on seriously trying to 'save' him. I offered a lot of treats, groomed him often and unnecessarily - but I learned all his scratchy places. Under his jaw, up in the thick soft hair at his neck that feels more like fur? That's the place for him. I was able to get him to trust me enough to touch his previously abused ears. I learned he has allergies in the summer and it makes his eyes crust up - he appreciated it greatly when, that first summer, I would go out with a warm damp kitchen towel and wash his face and gently cup his eye with my hand and the towel and rub his itchy eyes.... that's when the bond really started to deepen, I think: When he would trust me with his eyes.
We're three years into this and it's ongoing, though like I said, not as intense as it once had to be. Now we're taking it deeper still - and we trail ride and camp. He will go anywhere I ask him to go, even when he KNOWS it's a bad idea, and he will fuss at me afterwards... and then he forgives me. I'm learning to trust him to go off roading, to jump a few logs and creeks, and to gallop - so we're getting there together.
I have access to four adult horses to ride - and they're all wonderful horses. I adore being in their company and know all their quirks, but it's the squirrely one I trust the most and have the deepest bond with - because he's the one I've spent the most time with on the ground and in the saddle.