You love your horse. right?
We know you do - it is why we are here, too!
But does your horse love & respect you back?
It may seem a fickle question, but it is one that we should ask.
Our relationship with our horse has a massive impact on our training. And our training has a massive impact on our relationship. Every form of interaction determines what you can expect from your horse in turn.
So, what are the signs you should be looking for that indicate you need to work on your relationship with your horse?
You are regularly frustrated with your horse - or yourself
You try your best, your work yourself and your horse hard, but you just don’t seem to be getting anywhere. Yep, you are feeling the very beginnings of frustration.
Unfortunately, frustration can lead to feelings of irritation, distance or just a lack of appreciation. And don’t think for a moment that your horse isn’t feeling those emotions from you.
If you are getting frustrated or irritated, it is time to step back and focus on the real reason you are here - to love and be loved by that majestic beast in your paddock.
Your horse is “pushy”
Is you horse disrespectful of your personal space? Do they almost step on you when you lead them, or mow you down when you let them out?
Or perhaps they are becoming aggressive and pushy at feed time, knowing that you will hand them their food immediately should they push.
A horse that is not respecting your boundaries may be testing you, but if you are seeing this happen frequently, it’s time to get your horse focusing on respecting you.
Your horse spooks - a lot
It can be scary, frustrating or just plain irritating when our horse regularly spooks. But it is our responsibility, as the leader of your horse-y group, to ensure your horse is confident, relaxed and curious. If you horse is spooking, it is unlikely that it is feeling any of those moods, and means you need to work on your relationship foundations.
You only see your horse at feed-time and for work
Imagine this: You get to see your significant other/best friend/favourite sibling every day for dinner but the only thing you get to do discuss is a business meeting. No “what are we doing this weekend”, “how was your day” or “where shall we take our next holiday”. Just budgets, margin, profits or sales.
It might be ok for a day or two, but would get pretty stale in a short time.
It is exactly the same for our horses when we do nothing more besides work them or feed them. They quickly associate their activity with us with either feeding (YAY!) or work (not always so yay). After a while, they will even get to know your routine, and may start taking diversionary tactics to avoid less ‘pleasant’ time with us.
You’re not ‘in the moment’ with your horse
If you find yourself going through a mental checklist of to-do’s, or constantly worrying about something else, when you are spending time with your horse, chances are you need to refocus on your relationship.
We understand that life is busy and full of stresses, but when you focus on anything but your horse, you are not helping your bond. Unfortunately, our horses can pick up on these sentiments as well, which may exasperate the rift in your bond as well.