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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May. 21, 2009
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    78

    Default Ways To Bond With Your Horse?

    What are some ways I could bond with my horse?
    Thanks!
    ~He dares to be a fool, and that is the first step in the direction of wisdom~
    -James Huneker



  2. #2
    Join Date
    May. 28, 2008
    Posts
    772

    Default

    Spend time with him/her.
    http://www.chronicleofmyhorse.com/profile/Ashley26

    "You keep one leg on one side, the other leg on the other side, and your mind in the middle." -- Henry Taylor, "Riding Lesson"



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb. 23, 2008
    Posts
    4,266

    Default

    How is he "unbonded"? Is he new? Is he standoff-ish? What do you wish he would do?

    I have one horse who is very expressive and social, and always lifts her head when I drive in and comes to the fence to say hello. She'd follow us around like a dog if we let her. She LOVES "spa day" when I give her a big bath and comb out her mane and tail.

    I have another horse who was very standoffish for the first two years I had her. Now she's really warming up. I spent a lot of time grooming and petting her, finding her favorite itchy spots. I taught her some silly games, like pushing a ball and bowing, so "work" time wouldn't always just be riding (she was used to being worked hard but not having a lot of affection). I did a lot of in-hand and ground work with her because that helps her learn to pay more attention to me and be more interested in me. She's starting to get used to spa day too - she didn't like baths much when I got her, but now she's realizing it's a pleasant thing on a hot day. She's only recently started coming up to me in the pasture. She was never hard to catch, but she would just ignore me until I put the halter on. It's nice to see her prick up her ears and come over!

    Hope that helps...



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug. 12, 2001
    Location
    Trailer Trash Ammy!
    Posts
    19,520

    Default

    Hand walking/grazing always seems to work best for me.
    "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb. 21, 2009
    Location
    Rootown!
    Posts
    2,108

    Default

    My one horse's old owner said she used to sit in front of her horse's stall and read to him. I've recently starting doing the same thing and I leave his stall open and he just watches me and hangs out. The other guy really, really loves to be talked to so we'll just sit there and talk to him. Both have sensitive skin and hate being groomed no matter what Also bareback rides, hand walking, and hand grazing



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr. 28, 2004
    Posts
    1,453

    Default

    Groom, scratch, find that "favorite place" , hand graze, in hand work. In general just spending time with the horse without it being "work" or stressful. I have a Mustang that last year was "ok" when it came to being friendly - now this guy loves to be scratched just about every where!! Stretches out and starts drooling when I scratch his hind quarters ( OK so I need a life). He actually looks insulted if I don't take him out of his stall to do something, and nickers to me when I walk by. The neat thing is he doesnt' respond this way to everyone - you actually have to get into his "circle" for him to react to you.
    I also used to do massage on my Quarter Horse along with at least 1 grooming / in hand day a week - and he's another horse that now seeks out attention.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug. 30, 2007
    Location
    Illinois, USA
    Posts
    8,174

    Default

    I know it's hard/impossible for many folks, but I think seeing your horse EVERY day really helps to bond with them. Even if you don't do anything, just give em a pat and say hello, I think the constant-ness of them seeing you on a daily basis really helps to form a bond.

    Like I said, I know a lot of folks aren't lucky enough to have this option, but for me and my mare, it's a great help.
    Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec. 19, 2007
    Location
    Aldie, VA
    Posts
    1,597

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by sublimequine View Post
    I know it's hard/impossible for many folks, but I think seeing your horse EVERY day really helps to bond with them. Even if you don't do anything, just give em a pat and say hello, I think the constant-ness of them seeing you on a daily basis really helps to form a bond.

    Like I said, I know a lot of folks aren't lucky enough to have this option, but for me and my mare, it's a great help.
    Ditto for me, too. And also to the grazing/walking.

    I've found that seeing her every day, and also spending grazing/walking time with her, my formerly stand-offish mare has resulted in a much better attitude under saddle, too.

    I've had her for two years and while I've always known that she liked me, she's at the point now where she recognizes my footsteps and woofles and nickers when I come in the barn. No mean feat, that, since there are 19 horses in that particular barn and she's two stalls from the far end.

    There are draw-backs to heavy bonding, however. If she sees me with with another horse AND I'm talking nice to said horse, she gets *really* angry and kicks the crap out of her stall. BO doesn't care much for it and neither do I. Stalls are expensive.

    I keep the foreign horses that I'm working with at the other end of the barn.

    Eileen
    Mad Mare™ Studio
    Custom Swarovski®, Czech glass and gemstone browbands in Circlet, Diadem and Tiara styles. Matching stock pins, bracelets and belts.
    http://MadMare.com



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun. 15, 2004
    Posts
    1,327

    Default

    Treats! Feed an animal and you have a forever friend.
    Nobody puts baby in a corner



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar. 14, 2009
    Posts
    118

    Default

    I groom ALOT. I also like to hand graze too, and groom while I hand graze. Another thing I do is give lots of carrots and horse treats. Mostly when I see him, and then after I am done. I talk to him, and speak softly while I groom him.
    Formally Marinewife91



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb. 23, 2008
    Posts
    4,266

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by hijumpin1 View Post
    Treats! Feed an animal and you have a forever friend.
    When my husband was new to horses he was so disappointed by this! He said "you mean they are just like cats, and they only love you because you hand out food??"

    It does work, though you have to be careful not to turn your horse into a pushy, ill-mannered treat-grabber. Unless you like that kind of thing.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan. 9, 2003
    Location
    IN
    Posts
    4,177

    Default back when

    Back when I got my now almost 17 yo mare (at 4), before she was started under saddle I used to take her hiking. Yes, hiking. Me walking and leading her. She's always been fun to ride on the trails and I attribute it to that experience since she's always been spooky pretty much everywhere else.
    Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Goethe



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007
    Location
    TX
    Posts
    39,970

    Default

    I don't turn a new horse out with others until I know they are used to me and that they need to interact with me.

    They are in their stall and run by the other horses, that some may come and go to the pasture, so they learn about the other horses they will live with, what the barn routine is, when they go out which way they go and come back to the pens, where the gates are, etc.
    They are fed hay each meal, twice a day and several times a day I go halter them and bring them in to a little grain and brushing and one of those times I may ride them, or not that day.
    Most times they get to eat a little and go right back to their pen.

    They become used to the routine of, when they see me, if they come to me, we will be doing something very nice, like going for a bite of that very neat grain, not that when they see me, it is to be taken away from their friends and ridden, something some horses like, others could do without.

    It takes me from a few days to a week or two, but even those horses that came here wild, in a few days, love to see you coming and practically stick their heads in the halter.

    What you do once you halter them also counts, like most times go to a feeding station with a handful of grain they like and then do other they learn to enjoy also, like grooming, hand grazing, playing around, not always serious getting on and riding and then putting horse up, as so many do, that their interest is mainly what they do horseback.

    I also use treats, but they have to work for them, I am not a continuous treat dispenser on horsey demand.
    That causes pushy, unmannerly horses in many of them.

    Bonding?
    Well, when you work with a horse and make them your friend and in a way they think you are their friend also, that creates a bond.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec. 14, 2005
    Location
    Just east of Short Hill Mtn.
    Posts
    2,696

    Default

    We have our four horses at home, along with a friend's horse, so they all get daily attention from me. To build on the bond with my newest horse, who is my primary riding horse, aside from ground work in the ring I take him for walks around the neighborhood -- sort of like a dog. We like to end up with me sitting on the steps of the front porch and him grazing on the front lawn (not something we allow them to do). It's helped us bond, and helped him to gain courage and trust in me to ride alone.
    "Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." - Confucious
    <>< I.I.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    May. 21, 2009
    Posts
    78

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by twofatponies View Post
    How is he "unbonded"? Is he new? Is he standoff-ish? What do you wish he would do?

    I have one horse who is very expressive and social, and always lifts her head when I drive in and comes to the fence to say hello. She'd follow us around like a dog if we let her. She LOVES "spa day" when I give her a big bath and comb out her mane and tail.

    I have another horse who was very standoffish for the first two years I had her. Now she's really warming up. I spent a lot of time grooming and petting her, finding her favorite itchy spots. I taught her some silly games, like pushing a ball and bowing, so "work" time wouldn't always just be riding (she was used to being worked hard but not having a lot of affection). I did a lot of in-hand and ground work with her because that helps her learn to pay more attention to me and be more interested in me. She's starting to get used to spa day too - she didn't like baths much when I got her, but now she's realizing it's a pleasant thing on a hot day. She's only recently started coming up to me in the pasture. She was never hard to catch, but she would just ignore me until I put the halter on. It's nice to see her prick up her ears and come over!

    Hope that helps...
    Thanks
    ~He dares to be a fool, and that is the first step in the direction of wisdom~
    -James Huneker



  16. #16
    Join Date
    May. 21, 2009
    Posts
    78

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Holly Jeanne View Post
    Back when I got my now almost 17 yo mare (at 4), before she was started under saddle I used to take her hiking. Yes, hiking. Me walking and leading her. She's always been fun to ride on the trails and I attribute it to that experience since she's always been spooky pretty much everywhere else.
    Thanks, I'll try that. Good idea.
    ~He dares to be a fool, and that is the first step in the direction of wisdom~
    -James Huneker



  17. #17
    Join Date
    May. 21, 2009
    Posts
    78

    Default

    Thanks everyone!
    ~He dares to be a fool, and that is the first step in the direction of wisdom~
    -James Huneker



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun. 1, 2001
    Location
    Rosco, GA
    Posts
    1,872

    Default

    Riding over unfamiliar territory; being the one who feeds the horse; fox hunting the horse. In other words, being the dominant one without aggression.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    May. 6, 2007
    Location
    Napanee ON
    Posts
    3,887

    Default

    Spend some time alone with them loose, whether in the barn or in an arena/ring.

    or you could just ask the expert
    http://chronicleforums.com/Forum/sho...d.php?t=207975



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec. 28, 2008
    Posts
    69

    Default

    Spend time with your horse and do things he likes.
    My horse loves to be groomed, so I put in extra time grooming him.
    He also loves to have his face rubbed and his ears scratched, so I do that too.
    I think anything you can do to make your horse trust you, is a good thing.



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