When you get your first horse, or add a new horse to your barn, it doesn’t take long to fall in love with them. Though you may want to start going for long rides right away, you need to give your horse time to adjust to their new surroundings and, more importantly, to you!
During this adjustment period, putting in the time and effort to build a connection with your horse is crucial. While you want to be patient and allow them to go at their own pace, you also need to help them become comfortable with you. Not to mention, you’re probably eager to give them some love. Here are a few ways you can start bonding with your horse easily and naturally!
Spend time not working with your horse.
The more time you spend with your horse, the faster they will become comfortable around you. Visit their stall several times a day, halter them, and rub their neck and shoulders. Or, let them graze and walk around their new enclosure during these visits while you stand by, so they can explore and get used to your presence at the same time. Doing this regularly, especially in the beginning, will show them that they don’t always have to work when you come around.
Groom your horse.
One common way horses form bonds with each other is by mutual grooming—and you can do the same! Grooming your horse regularly is not only necessary for their health, but also a chance for you to spend time together doing a calm and soothing activity. Discover their favorite spots to rub, scratch, and brush, and groom them right into bliss. They’ll also appreciate when you get areas they can’t reach, such as their chest or belly.
Talk to them.
Let your horse get to know your voice by talking to them, just as you would while bonding with another person. Be sure to speak calmly and in a positive tone, but be firm when you’re giving commands to earn their respect. The more you talk to them, the more familiar they’ll become with your voice and be able to read your emotions. Never shout or yell at your horse, as you could spook them or they could end up fearing you.
Go for walks.
Everybody jumps to riding when they think of ways to bond with a horse, but ground work is just as important. Training and practicing maneuvers on the ground gives you the opportunity to bond with your horse and get them ready for the saddle. They’ll be able to get used to their environment, obstacles in their path, and build trust with you. As you work on handling, manners, and other exercises, you’re establishing yourself in a positive leadership position.
Do positive reinforcement training together.
Positive reinforcement training is a good way to engage your horse and help them form positive associations with you and the training process. Horses also tend to learn faster with rewards-based training than other forms of conditioning. Use positive reinforcement for any activity you’d like, whether it’s ground play, walking, handling, or agility. Offer them treats, toys, and praise when they do well, and they’re sure to reciprocate your love in no time.
As you and your new horse get to know each other, they should have a strong, sturdy place to call home. Deer Creek Structures can provide a high-quality, secure, and attractive horse barn to accommodate your new horse and any other horses you already have. Choose from our prefab run-in sheds, shedrow barns, or aisle barns, or contact us directly to discuss a custom design.
Browse our structures online today and order your horse’s new home for delivery!