Welcome to the Contributor [C] series on Life Equestrian. I love collaborating with other writers and influencers and started this series to curate a source of helpful tips from our equestrian community. Thank you David Garcia, www.horsezz.com
How to Bond with a Horse: 5 Useful Tips
If you learned how to handle a horse it doesn't mean you make friends with it! Horses have their own personality as well as willings and needs. Thus, we’d like to share five useful tips to help you develop a friendship with your companion.
Both humans and animals perceive the surrounding world with the help of their senses. Horses have five sense organs: hearing, taste, smell, touch, and sight.
Watch Your Moves
A crucial aspect of establishing friendly relations with a horse is non-verbal communication. It plays a vital role in the exchange of emotions and information, both between people and animals, in particular between a man and a horse.
Horses always recognize their owner by their walk. When communicating with a hooved pal, you should avoid sudden movements. Do NOT wave your hands in front of the horse's face, as it can interpret this as an attack and imminent danger. And the animal may start to defend itself.
Sometimes horses perceive hand waving as an invitation to play. Thus, they can start running, hitting his back in the air, whinnying loudly, and rolling on its back.
When training a companion, don’t underestimate the huge role of touching. In natural conditions, horses often bite and scratch each other's withers - such actions exhibit a friendly attitude. Therefore, it’s necessary to regularly pat and stroke the horse’s neck, so he will love you and obey you better.
In the first meeting, the experienced rider David Garcia recommends brushing a horse with a little pressure. The animal perceives the stroking as a desire to please it. However, be cautious as the horse may try to “scratch” you in response.
Make an Eye Contact
A horse's weak point is the sight, especially if you approach from behind or close to its muzzle. Make a step back from your hooved chum and he recognizes you immediately by your shape. Since horses are shy, especially young ones, do NOT test them. Always come to the horse from the frontline and keep a short distance from your companion.
Your voice plays a significant role in bonding with a horse and further communication. Horses have a highly developed hearing aid, so they're able to distinguish voices at a great distance.
If you watch the horse’s facial expressions for a while, you'll notice that the ears are constantly moving. They pick up even insignificant noise or rustle. That's why hooved pals easily understand your mood by the voice. Whether you're frightened, confident, amused, friendly, or furious and irritated.
Therefore, another bonding tip lies in putting yourself together before you approach or call the horse. Clear your head, get rid of bad thoughts, and don't be afraid of your companion. While coming closer, speak in a firm, determined, and at the same time, gentle pace. If your horse doesn't respond to your commands and fool around - in no case shout or punch him.
A man is a leader in the "rider - horse" system, thus, the companion’s performance depends on how they command. So first of all, learn to control yourself. When training, the horse must be praised. Don’t forget to say some kind words to him in a pleasant voice, gently stroke the neck and mane. Animals are not foreign to feelings of tenderness and love.
One of the most important senses, both for humans and animals, is the ability to perceive and recognize odors. Horses have a keen sense of smell. When communicating with each other, hooved friends sniff each other. And they act the same way when meeting a human. It may seem that a horse is pickpocketing for some yummies like rusks or sugar. But in fact, the chum is sniffing at his new friend. Having memorized the smell of his owner, the horse will never confuse him with another horseman.
Horses are said to often rescue their riders by feeling the approach of danger or enemies. With the help of its sense of smell, the horse checks the food quality - whether it’s spoiled or not. Although a person may not feel anything. The sense of smell also helps to examine the terrain, thereby memorizing the route.
Feed with Favorite Treats
At the first stage of acquaintance, you can easily earn the trust of your companion by bribing him with treats. Horses are into carrots and apples, crackers and bread crusts, watermelon, and sugar cubes.
Keep in mind that a horse is treated with an extended palm so the animal doesn’t bite your fingers by accident. All fruits and vegetables must be pre-washed and cut into pieces. However, don't excessively pamper your hooved friend. Otherwise, he’ll become a true rebel and he won’t respond to commands without goodies.
Hope you liked these simple tips that experienced equestrians shared with us. Once you follow them, you’ll end up bonding with any equine. Take care of your companion and enjoy your time together!
Guest Blogger, David Garcia is the founder and author of horsezz.com. David has a history with horses, being born and raised on a ranch. He followed his passion and combined his passion to create a successful blog about equestrian-related topics.