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Building trust with your horse

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  • Building trust with your horse

    How do you build trust with your horse? Do you spend time with them? Groom them? What do you think is important to do to help facilitate trust building?

  • #2
    I never spend time "building trust."

    To me that implies a negotiation.

    If you act like a leader and quietly but firmly expect your horse to follow your lead, he will do so. Put the saddle on without letting him sniff it and expect him to stand quietly for it. He will. Use a firm "go" command to get him to step into the water and he will. When he spooks in a corner ride only in that corner and expect him to get over himself and he will. If he doesn't like the fly spray keep right on spraying until he stands quietly and he will get over it.

    As herd animals I think horses are much more comfortable being told that everything is fine than being coaxed tentatively along.
    The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
    Jinxyhttp://tiny.cc/PIC798&http://tiny.cc/jinx364
    Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
    The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY

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    • #3
      Spending time & doing stuff with them, behaving in a trustworthy way. I don't think there are any shortcuts to real trust!

      Comment


      • #4
        I tend to radiate a very low amount of energy. Around horses this goes down even further, and on a scale of say, 1-5, with five meaning that a person radiates a lot of energy outwards, my friends tell me I radiate zero energy when I deal with horses. It goes a long way towards quietly and efficiently handling them. So, I pretty much stay the way I am every day, keep the routines the same, and sooner or later, for the most part, they adjust.

        If you're a horse and you don't have someone going crazy at you out of the blue for no reason you can predict or understand, or acting nervous like there's snakes around their feet all the time, and the level of care, handling, riding and commitment remains quiet and efficient day in and day out right around the calendar, well then, what's left to distrust?
        "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein

        http://s1098.photobucket.com/albums/...2011%20Photos/

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        • #5
          Originally posted by meupatdoes View Post
          I never spend time "building trust."

          To me that implies a negotiation.
          I disagree. It's feel it's like any other relationship.

          Some horses will respond to a strong leadership style, but not the really tough ones (IMO). And I think they are often the ones capable of forming the strongest bonds. It all depends on how you define trust and what behaviors you're trying to acheive.

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          • #6
            Just spending time bonding with them. Not just doing mushy smooshy stuff. I take mine for a walk, brush him, sit in his stall with him, etc. He will go to sleep while I am brushing him. I also know which spots will make him relax more.
            OTTB - Hurricane Denton - Kane - the big dog!
            Tuggy - RIP 9/12/2016 - Wait for me at the bridge
            Foster LolaMaria AKA LolaBean (Boxer)

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            • #7
              I love negotiating with my horses, it's a real two way street and that makes it a much more interesting and worthwhile hobby than a one way street.
              This is my hobby, I spend most of my spare time and money on them and for me the enjoyment is from a two way exchange/communication, call it what you will, with animals of a different species who don't speak English. That's the challenge, that's the thrill,to build up a relationship of mutual trust where you can think, yeah this is dangerous. He's 3/4 of a ton and has a brain the size of an apple but I can gallop and jump him and put his rug on while he's eating and I can be safe because... well they're mostly such generous creatures I suppose.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by srs View Post
                How do you build trust with your horse? Do you spend time with them? Groom them? What do you think is important to do to help facilitate trust building?
                Which one of you has a confidence problem?
                2012 goal: learn to ride like a Barn Rat

                A helmet saved my life.

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                • #9
                  I have found a lot of ground work starts the trust, but I noticed a big difference when we were riding or showing together and we made it through sticky situations and what I directed him to do we did it together and made it, really deep in on a fence, going through a scary part on a trail. I've also had realizations that I may trust him in some areas riding and not others. So definiteyl a two way street, but I do believe a bond needs to be create in the form of a relationship to really connect.
                  Calm & Collected, 13, OTTB
                  Forrest Gump (Catasauqua) , 17, OTTB
                  Little Bit Indian, 29, TB
                  Owner of Spur of the Moment, Custom made spur straps! Find us on Facebook

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                  • #10
                    Carrots.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Watched a vid of Meupatdoes on a bay TB mare off the track, maybe she'll post a link to it.
                      Anyway, Meup has a fantastic grasp of the meaning of Firm. No, we aren't going that way. We're going this way. Half/rearing and spinning toward the barn does not work for me. Walk this way. She is as firm as can be, but not ever mad, upset, or ever doing more than necessary to get her point across, and she is well within the realm of what the horse can be reasonably asked, at that moment and emotional development, to do. When you can be consistently firm, a horse can begin to respect you as a leader.

                      That will build trust between horse and handler. I really don't know of any other way to do it, though done properly it can be groundwork, longeing, round-pen work, or riding.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I think I agree with what everyone has said because I think there is more then just one type of trust.

                        Meupatdoes builds a leadership trust.

                        Chief2 builds a trust by lowering her energy.

                        AppendixQHLover spends time doing things with the horse that they both enjoy.

                        I think that in my opinion, the only criteria I'd place upon what anyone might consider "trust", is that both the horse and the person both become more safe with each other, because of their interaction together.

                        I think that trust by definition has to involve some potential element of risk for both parties, and the component that we consider as trust, is really a sense of mutual faith that neither party will ever be intentionally harmed by the other.

                        But this sense of faith by a horse person also needs to include the knowledge that a horse is capable of acting in ways that might cause the person harm with absolutely no intention to do so on the part of the horse. So the prudent horse person will never put themselves in any unnecessary positions where they might be harmed, and equally as important, the horse person will never place the horse in any unnecessary positions where the horse might be harmed.

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                        • #13
                          Here is the video that was mentioned:

                          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=as0WWi4k8bw

                          Yes, strong leadership.
                          But also very low energy.

                          No I am not going to negotiate, though, on walking around the perimeter like a normal horse.
                          The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
                          Jinxyhttp://tiny.cc/PIC798&http://tiny.cc/jinx364
                          Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
                          The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY

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                          • #14
                            The best thing I ever did to build confidence and trust between my horse and I was taking him to a 3 day cross country clinic. He's a hunter/jumper with fear of wide open spaces and he was too much horse for me when I bought him but I gradually learned to ride him properly with the help of strict training program (for both of us!). 3 days in wide fields and jumping crazy, SOLID jumps that we'd never seen before...amazing. He had to trust me and I had to trust him. Spent 4-6 hours a day out and about. A lot of walking in woods, through rivers, over bridges and through cattle ranches to get to different areas to school. We flushed out deer, jumped 4ft high solid fences, had to leave the 'herd' and go past construction sites. We finished the clinic by building up to the water jump...our last jump was a 4 ft drop into the water!

                            After that, negotiating the terrain of a show - which used to blow my horse's mind - was NOTHING. Idling duallys? Nothing compared to a oil rig being moved on a semi 20 ft away. Cattle in the field? Beats having a deer startle 4 ft away. Puddles? We walked in rivers up to my horse's chest. Wooden planks to cover the mud? We crossed every kind of bridge imaginable. It instilled HUGE confidence in both of us.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Fillabeana
                              Watched a vid of Meupatdoes on a bay TB mare off the track, maybe she'll post a link to it. Anyway, Meup has a fantastic grasp of the meaning of Firm. No, we aren't going that way. We're going this way. Half/rearing and spinning toward the barn does not work for me. Walk this way. She is as firm as can be, but not ever mad, upset, or ever doing more than necessary to get her point across, and she is well within the realm of what the horse can be reasonably asked, at that moment and emotional development, to do. When you can be consistently firm, a horse can begin to respect you as a leader.
                              Oh, I'd love to watch that video too. Meupatdoes would you be ok to share it? Thanks so much!


                              Edited to add, sorry just noticed it has been posted, THANKS mucho!!!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by meupatdoes View Post
                                Here is the video that was mentioned:

                                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=as0WWi4k8bw

                                Yes, strong leadership.
                                But also very low energy.

                                No I am not going to negotiate, though, on walking around the perimeter like a normal horse.
                                This. Nice riding, Meupatdoes.
                                "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein

                                http://s1098.photobucket.com/albums/...2011%20Photos/

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I'm with RBow. I try never to ask my horse to do something for which he is not prepared when we work. And there is reward, as well, so he knows when I am pleased. And sometimes he has only to try, to offer, to make that so.

                                  And my reward? There have been plenty of times that he has something legitimate to spook at/flee from, and a quiet, "It's okay" is all it takes for him to be quiet.
                                  www.specialhorses.org
                                  a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues

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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by srs View Post
                                    How do you build trust with your horse?... What do you think is important to do to help facilitate trust building?
                                    Go for adventures. Set out to accomplish tasks that require teamwork.
                                    Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by srs View Post
                                      How do you build trust with your horse? Do you spend time with them? Groom them? What do you think is important to do to help facilitate trust building?
                                      Spending time with them in general of course, but furthering on that, working with them at liberty, working on trust-building exercises on the ground, and spending time in the saddle.

                                      My primary goal with any horse (as it pertains to my partnership with them) is balancing trust and respect with them. With some horses my focus is on respect while simply maintaining a healthy level of trust, with other horses I have to work and focus on earning a higher level of trust, while maintaining a healthy level of respect. In general, both come by offering calm, assertive leadership to the horse. I use a variety of exercises and scenarios in the arena, in the roundpen, and just hacking the horse out to create situations where the horse is challenged and is set up to rely on my leadership. The horse then learns to rely on, and look to, my leadership, and thereby trust is earned.

                                      Whether I work the horse at liberty, in the arena, out on the trail, on the ground, or under-saddle - where I focus my energy, depends on the horse and what it needs. Liberty work makes a huge difference to horses who have larger trust issues, because they have the choice to work with you or not. Of course you set things up in your favour however, but the key is they think the choice is theirs This works also for horses who are rather indifferent to working with you. On the ground, it's primarily about using a variety of exercises whereby the horse can learn you'll be consistent (but persistent) in your ask, fair, and soft - basically, they learn you will ALWAYS behave in a trustworthy way, as fburton referred to. They learn what to expect and can predict how you will always act (especially if they make a mistake or are scared, and as they experience new things). You also challenge them via say 'scary' or 'sticky' scenarios and when they live through it via following your leadership, they learn to trust that what you ask is possible and that you will keep them safe. Under-saddle, basically same idea. Hacking out or performing a specific job (such as working cattle) they're presented with a variety of scenarios and challenges whereby they're forced to rely on your leadership - they live, they learn to trust.

                                      Imo there is a fine balance between compromising with the horse (ie, taking what they can give and building off that, catering to their needs and considering their wants and needs), and offering that calm assertive leadership and having high expectations. There's room for both. Negotiations come in the form of understanding what the horse is and is not capable of, and pushing them to the limit so they learn, without pushing them over that limit. So sometimes I might have to accept a little less than I expected, and build off that. In areas where it truly does not matter (such as sniffing the saddle), I will cater to the horse if it makes a difference to the horse, because it builds a good relationship with the horse.
                                      ....horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
                                      ~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by meupatdoes View Post
                                        I never spend time "building trust."

                                        To me that implies a negotiation.

                                        If you act like a leader and quietly but firmly expect your horse to follow your lead, he will do so. Put the saddle on without letting him sniff it and expect him to stand quietly for it. He will. Use a firm "go" command to get him to step into the water and he will. When he spooks in a corner ride only in that corner and expect him to get over himself and he will. If he doesn't like the fly spray keep right on spraying until he stands quietly and he will get over it.

                                        As herd animals I think horses are much more comfortable being told that everything is fine than being coaxed tentatively along.
                                        I agree. This and always fair treatment go a long way.

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