... Or something to do to help my new OTTB bond with me? I was thinking since our ring is not usable right now, I could work on our trust together. I want him to see me as more than "the lady with the treats". I have a lot of horse experience and know that it takes TIME, but I was wondering if there were any certain things I could do that would help us bond. Right now I go to the barn and brush him/spend time with him every day even though I haven't been able to actually ride for awhile. The other day we went on a short trail ride on softer grass, but I'm running out of ideas. I was wondering if there was anything from Natural Horsemanship or anything else. Thanks!
I know that I rambled a lot... Sorry haha I just love my boy. [:
... Or something to do to help my new OTTB bond with me? I was thinking since our ring is not usable right now, I could work on our trust together. I want him to see me as more than "the lady with the treats". I have a lot of horse experience and know that it takes TIME, but I was wondering if there were any certain things I could do that would help us bond.
Horses trust if you are the leader. Your position as leader is fairly easy to establish....move his feet. You can do a lot of in hand exercises that teach him to move hindquarters, shoulder, barrel to your cues. Do in hand obstacle courses (set one up in the barn aisle with cones/barrels/poles for instance) with him at your side or working away from you on hand signals. Desensitize to things that might spook him if seen out on the trails or in a show ring....things like plastic bags, balloons, glittery fringe in a breeze etc. The more he sees/is exposed to and learns that it didn't hurt him the more he will trust your judgement in putting him in situations where he might be a bit uncomfortable in the future.
Obstacles are a good way to work with your horse and bond. They also desensitize your horse and let you see how your horse will behave in different situations. For me this always makes me a little more secure and helps me and in turn the horse relax. Maybe you could try long lining as well.
ground driving or long lining over/around obstacles, you'll discover you'll need to work as a team to get things done. Make little challenges and then go try to solve it as a team. You both get to exercise your brains and learn to communicate together.
If you have any poles you can do some pole work from the ground. You can set up a serpentine or a figure eight, as well as a little course of eight or so with some left and right turns. My OTTB loves to do in-hand pole work, he figures if he has to go over them I should too! But really in his mind treats are the best bonding tool, haha!
Lots of great ideas. I love taking my horse on hand-walks on trails, fields, etc -wherever. However throw in some leadership with leading basics - you stop, he stops, you speed up, he speeds up. I have even trotted him in hand for some of my own exercise. Have him step over logs. "Send him" past a gate or something scary. I used to bring my lunge whip and a long lead to give him a bit more freedom. He loved it and it got me outside in the woods, and got me some exercise too. Great bonding!