It is only natural when you acquire a new horse that one of your utmost desire is to establish a special bond with it. The first thing you might consider is how to get your horse to trust you, and that’s okay because you’re not alone there. It is very possible that your horse won’t instantly fall in love with you as you would with it, as all relationships generally takes time to build trust and confidence. One of the most important factor that determines the success of any relationship is trust and constant communication, and this is no different when it comes to horses.
Earning trust is very important, as a horse who doesn’t trust his owner may wind up voluntarily causing danger or hurt to his owner. Like all relationships, building and developing trust is only achieved by a lot of hard work and the amount of time you spend together with your partner(in this case, your horse). Having a concrete understanding on how to earn the trust of your horse can aid you in your quest to become an expert rider, and help you ride with confidence as well as developing an enduring relationship with your animal.
The underlisted are a few practical steps you can take to building a seamless relationship with your horse. But it is worthy to note that patience is an important virtue in this new walk. Everything will not happen at once, you must proceed with caution and patience, as horses can become very violent if treated wrongly or with contempt.
Pointers On Getting Your Horse To Trust You
1. Approach Your Horse The Right Way
If And When You Take Note That Your Horse Gets Nervous whenever you move him for training, it is very likely that you approach him wrongly. Some horses are afraid of humans or any animals ( disregarding their size ) that move towards it head on. You could try to approach him from the sides and do your best possible to evade direct eye contact with him. When you advance towards the horse, put out your palms wide and open to allow for it ( the horse ) to smell you. If the horse appears to be apprehensive still, try and bend slightly at your waist level while you hold out your palms and remove your gaze from off of him.
2. Invest Quality Time With Your Horse
Apart from currying and galloping with your horse, how much time do you invest into spending quality time with your horse? You will avail yourself of a lot when you dedicate ample time to learn about a horse’s personal traits and dispositions by doing well to observe your horse for any stated period of time ( maybe once week, bi-monthly or whichever arrangements work for you ). Try sitting nearby while your horse moves about or bonds with other horses, and let him get very relaxed with your presence. You may also get to learn why your horse behaves in a particular way by observing him closely and spending more time with him.
3. Communicate With Your Horse
It will definitely feel very weird for some people to talk to an animal that can’t respond back to you. But as it is with most pet owners, some horse owners soon discover that talking to a horse can help establish a level of trust with the horse and this would get him used to being relaxed around humans. You should try talking to your horse using a gentle but confident tone. With the process of time, your horse will learn that he can get very relaxed whenever he is in your presence and that you are a trustworthy individual.
4. Take A Stroll Together
It may be very possible that as your journey with your horse progresses, he is taking his time to earn your trust, and at such, mounting him for long periods of time may prove to be difficult or extremely dangerous. This should however not detract you from your quest to tame and possibly enjoy your horse while riding it.
As your journey progress, try taking your horse with you for a long walk out in the open, most preferably in the woods, while leading him by the reins in the same manner as you would a dog on a leash. This method can turn out positively to help your horse learn to feel easy and relaxed when in your company while being led by you.
5. Protect Yourself And Your Horse.
A common fact between most experienced horse groomers is that, for a horse to want to work with you, it needs to see you as a great leader who can protect it and be able to also protect yourself.In light of this, there is a massive pertinence attached to this little tip, that often times, people fail to see. So here’s the gist of it all. When you’re working with your horse, always protect yourself by protecting your personal space. This basically means that you should be more aware of your personal space around your horse. However, for experienced horse groomers, this translates to watch your feet or rather, you not moving your feet.
I know it’s a bit unclear, so let’s break it down. You not moving your feet basically lets you stand your ground. So when you’re having a snuggle session, and it’s about done, let your horse back away while you stand your ground and don’t move your feet. The same thing applies to when you want to back your horse up, you do so with hand cues like flapping your arms. Also, you should strive to strengthen your body language around your horse. An example is to stand facing the horse and relaxing your posture when you want the horse to come closer.
Now, the next aspect of this tip is, of course, protecting your horse. Your horse needs you to be the leader, and this means protecting it at all times, from humans, animals or any harmful objects. This especially begins right when you bring your horse into the paddock, for the first time. Here, you should protect your horse from other horses, no matter how gentle the other horse might be. When you establish that you are able to protect your horse, a certain level of trust will definitely be established.
6. Understanding Body Language.
A little bit of this was talked about in the preceding tip, however, because of its overall importance, we should look at it a little more. Body language is an important aspect of communication, be it in human relationships or in your relationship with your horse. Due to that fact, it is important to try and understand it, that is, understanding not just your body language, but your horse’s as well.
The importance of understanding your horse’s body language lies in the fact that it shows you to shape your own body language for better communication with your horse. Which increases your chances of ultimately establishing a closer bond with your horse. Also, communicating with your horse via body language is something that has to be done with consistency, so in time, both you and your horse know what to expect next from each other.
How To Get Your Horse To Trust You Using Training
1. Use Relaxation Techniques In Training Your Horse
A very vital part about establishing trust with your horse is learning how to calm your horse. Learning to be a horse whisperer, if you will. It is very vital not to hurriedly perform this task, as vigorously putting your hands on a horse that has not fully trusted you could result in further wariness and even violent display of character. Once your horse gets familiar with your touch, you could apply a different mix of relaxation methods to help ease training especially if your horse is proving to be hard headed.
- Stand next to your horse’s head, looking at the same way he is. Firmly grip the reins in your hand and bend slowly at the waist with your head facing down. Calmly direct the horse’s head down with you. This should ease the tension of the horse and with time build his confidence to feel safe around you.
- Caress your horse, but don’t fondle him. Horses do not fondle each other out in the wild.
- Use your index finger to gently caress the groove that runs down the top of your horse’s muzzle. Pat calmly and run your finger down the whole length of its bridle. This can be prove to be extremely calming to some horses, and will help make your horse for familiar to your touch.
- Firmly grip the muzzle of the horse with one hand while you calmly slip one finger from the other hand into the hind corner of your horse’s mouth. Horses do not normally have dentals in that region of the mouth, but it is advisable nonetheless to act carefully.
2. Train You Horse In A Progressive Pace
Although this task may seem ordinary, it is very easy to neglect the fact that expecting so much in so little a time from an animal can be take its toll and end up causing more damage than good. Whereas training is a great method to establishing trust with your horse, proper care should be taken so that it is done with a progressive approach. Begin with simple, easy-to-do tasks and gradually work your way up to more demanding training sessions.
- Begin with simple tasks that your horse is used to. Then, gradually introduce easy challenges that you know the horse will be able to complete without too much exertion.
- Do not push your horse past its limit. If and when you notice that he’s not very comfortable with jumping over hurdles, coercing him to jump will only make him more uncomfortable and distrustful, and could cause grave danger to you and your horse. Allow your horse the opportunity to examine the obstacle, giving him as much time as he requires before letting him jump over it, and be sure he’s feeling relaxed being around the obstacle before you try to make him jump over it.
3. Learn To Reward Your Horse For A Job Well Done
At all times when you train your horse to carry out a new assignment and he tries to accomplish it, reward him with a treat, even when he does not wholly fulfill the task. The aim here is to teach your horse that there’s always a reward for effort put into a task. Subsequently, with constant assurance, your horse will want to keep trying for you, and not solely because of a treat.
- Make it a habit to choose healthy treats for rewards. Some vegetables ( carrots, apples or celery ) could make for an excellent choice
- Some vegetables could be harmful and cause bloating. Cabbage and Brussels sprouts fit into this category. Avoid feeding your horse with any plants that belong to the nightshade family, including onions, potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, etc.
- Give treats in moderate amounts. Giving so much treats or giving free meals too regularly can help develop problems like gluttony, which may lead to nibbling.
At this point, I trust you have learned enough pointers or tips that would help in earning your horse to trust you. Though, every one of these steps might not work, but I am positive that at least a few will if you do them right.
So, why don’t you give it a try?