You don’t have to have a lot of talent and skills to know how to bond with your horse, you just need patience, a great amount of understanding and of course, love. Owning a horse is extra work and just paying the boarding, and letting someone take care of them half the day does not determine a strong connection. A bond is created away from stress, workload, and demands, as horses are accustomed to quiet places. A bond begins when you genuinely take care of them and this guide will help you to exactly do that.
Be consistent, fair and firm as a leader. Always communicate clearly regarding your horse’s behavior. If you ask your horse to “wait” until you completely open a stall door, and he knows how to do that, don’t be too strict and handle him hard, instead, be fair. Don’t expect a horse to do something he is not trained. Also, be consistent every time you ask the same tricks since horses are creatures of habit and they will likely remember.
Don’t just appear during feeding time or work time. Don’t show up when you’re about to feed your horse or immediately ride them when you want to. We may get busy sometimes but try to take time to visit them. Simple things like reading books beside them, scratching their necks or bellies, bringing treats or just simply hanging out is a relaxing way to bond.
Be sure to understand your horse’s body language. When you shape your own body language and understand your horse’s body language, it helps you to communicate better and create a closer bond. This has to be done consistently and other behaviors that you have taught would only be temporary if your horse does not know what to expect from you. Learn to understand your horse by observing its facial expression, tail, ears, and posture.
Grooming time can become bonding time. Allogrooming is a very common behavior in horses. Allogrooming is when two horses nibble each other’s back or scratching each other. This is why grooming your horse is a pleasurable way to bond. Especially when you brush their out-of-reach areas like the chest, legs, etc..
Respect that your horse is a horse. Your horse also needs the companionship of other horses, not just bonding with you alone. They don’t care about the things we do – color, breed, size or perfectly kept stalls. They want shelter from a storm, good grass, water and companionship, and leadership from someone they can rely on.
Massage and other therapeutic bodywork. When you learn the basics of equine massage or other massages can help you create a better bond with your horse. If he knows he can rely on your during relaxation, then he will surely enjoy spending time with you. Not only does massaging relaxes your horse, it can also improve his overall performance.
Last but not the least, always experience things together. The more you interact with your horse, the more you understand each other. You may have heard competitors claim their horse looked after them during a competition. Their bond with their horses developed and strengthen based on mutual trust in difficult situations.