Monday, December 1, 2008
It's like we're Married!?!?!?!?
Ahhh yes. Marriage. A commitment that's supposed to last forever. A union between 2 people or a person and their horse. WAIT! WHAT!?!?!?! OK, OK I'm seriously kidding about marrying your horse, but sometimes it CAN feel that way. It's a hell of a commitment. So in order to carry on with this life long commitment of give and take (mostly give I swear ask my bank account), there must be some bonding time. Bonding? With your horse? Uh, yeah, it's a must! Your horse does not want to be worked 24/7 with no cuddle time. Confused yet? It's OK allow me to explain.
SO! I get a fair amount of people who tell me that their once "perfect" horse has suddenly begun to act up and what is going on and blah, blah, blah. Well all work and no play make pony pones a dull(angry) boy. It is YOUR job to make sure that your horse understands that he shouldn't dread every time you show your face at his stall. Well how? By special bonding time! You bond with people? Then yes you can bond with your horse! How? Easy!!!
Play games in the arena with your best bud. Tag, chase, just walk around. Oh and do this safely by the way. Don't get trampled please. Also take your horse out for some nice hand grazing. Or let them go out and roll and get dirty and buck and play and be horses. Grab a book or magazine and a chair and sit out in their pasture while they graze. Your horse needs to understand that you have nothing but the best intentions for them and the only way they'll understand that is through horse-speak. Meaning; playing, relaxing, grazing, getting groomed in the sunshine, find your horses sweet spot, take them for a walk in hand, stand in their stall and groom or pet them while they chow down. Get a ball you both can kick or stomp at. It will do wonders for your relationship as well as their mental health and stress levels. It's like the posting I did about arena sour horses. They CRAVE a change of scenery and something that does not require them to be tacked up worked every day. Even when you give them a day off and let your full care barn handle everything, you're not doing anything that is productive for you or your horse. You need to be there with them and have them learn that you are not all strict business ALL the time, that you have this fun, relaxed, playful side too. You will NOT believe the amount of good this will do for you and your horse. I tend to get a lot of people who look at me as if I'd just grown a tail or something, but then again they'll never have what I have with my horses. My horses are happy to work with me. Happy to do as I ask, because they know that we'll have some fun later too! They show better, and they trust me and I trust them. I know their every move and thought. I just know them inside and out and make I strict point of doing that with all my horses. It keeps me safe and happy, and it keeps them safe and happy. We have less arguments, no lack of communication, we're less stressed, etc. It's EXACTLY like bonding with another human being!!! You'll get the same results! Just remember to keep your games safe and start with things that are more controlled. You don't want to run around in an arena and play with a horse that may accidently play to rough at first, or no know how, or might get scared. I play with my show horse in the arena and we chase each other around and other people will watch and say "Oh my God! He's going to run into you, trample you, kick you, bleh." Nope, not a chance, I stay a safe distance and have a crop for the just in case. Plus I've been around him long enough to know the goofy things he's going to do. LOL!!!
A strong bonded relationship with your horse is something money could never buy. It just takes a bit of time, and I think you'll have just as much fun as your equine friend, if not a little more.