If you're like most horse owners, you want to develop a strong, trusting relationship with your horse. After all, this magical connection is what makes working with horses so much fun! But how can you be sure that your horse trusts you? And more importantly, what should you do if he doesn't trust you? In this blog post, we will discuss the signs of trust in horses and how to re-establish trust if it has been violated.
Many things go into building a trusting relationship with your horse. It is important to be able to read his/her body language and understand if he/she is comfortable with what you are doing. Horses are prey animals, so they can be very sensitive to the slightest change in their environment or the behavior of those around them. If you are not sure whether your horse trusts you, watch for these signs: Does he come to you when you call him? Does he walk around with you without being led with tack? Does he willingly join you in the activities you have planned for him each day? If the answer to any of these questions is no, then you need to work on rebuilding trust before continuing your training.
One of the best ways to build a deeper bond, as well as trust, is to simply spend time with your horse in a quiet setting, letting him get used to your presence. Sitting with your horse can be a great way to bond with your horse and make him feel comfortable around you. While you are hanging out with your horse you can practice respecting your horse’s personal space. This helps the horse learn to trust you. In the Resnick Method, we practice the “Hello” ritual to build trust. This ritual is practiced amongst horses and is based on a code of conduct of the herd that says that all horses have a right to their personal space. Horses use this ritual to keep harmony in the herd. If we follow this code the horse learns that we understand his language and begins to trust us.
Once you begin to train the horse make sure you are gentle and patient and take breaks often so he doesn't get overwhelmed. Be a calm, assertive leader so that he feels safe with you. Leadership with horses is about building a relationship of not only trust but mutual respect as well. It's about understanding horse psychology (the nature of horses) and using that knowledge to create a bonded trust.
In the training process, the horse has no-fault insurance. This means that if he makes a mistake, it's not because he's trying to be disobedient. It's simply because he doesn't yet understand what you're asking him to do. If, in the middle of his work with you, he decides he doesn't want to be trained, stop your agenda and go back to reestablish your relationship. Then continue with his training with something that you know he would learn easily and naturally. Your focus is to get the horse to volunteer his performance. From this companionship connection, your leadership is fair, just, and consistent - the three foundations of trust. With trust as your foundation, you can accomplish anything with your horse.
Thanks for reading! I hope this was helpful. :)
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