In this excerpt from SmartPak’s blog, Kathleen Milazzo talks about the importance of bonding with her horse and how she creates that quality time.
Spending time with your horse, whether you are in the saddle or out of the saddle, is an important part of good horsemanship. Riding is always fun and working together with your horse creates a great bond. There are many other reasons, however, that spending quality time with your horse, outside of the saddle, are very important. Your horse is also your pet, part of your family and a friend. The better the relationship the two of you have, you develop mutual trust, and the quality of your ride will improve greatly. Your horse will learn to love and respect you even more as a rider and a companion.
One of the many ways I bond with my horse is to sit in his stall with him. He will normally carry on, munching on hay and doing his own thing. When I sit with him, I like to talk with him. Sometimes, I will play music and sometimes I just sit there in silence admiring his beauty. It can be very therapeutic as well! By doing these things, my horse is getting to know my demeanor, and the quality time spent together strengthens our relationship. If you are not the type to sit still, mucking and cleaning the stall with your horse is still great quality time. Ever so often, pet your pony and talk to him while you are working. Just the presence with both of you in a confined, safe place will develop that important relationship.
Another way I enjoy bonding with my horse is by taking him on walks. I hand walk him around the valley outside of my barn. This is great exercise for the both of us and develops those important ground manners. While we walk, he grazes, and I give him lots of pets and love. There are many new sights, smells and sounds for horses when they are outside of their natural comfort zone. Spending time with your horse during these moments of uncertainty is a great trust building exercise for them as well. Sometimes, I will bring a brush along and give him a thorough brushing while he grazes. Grooming is a wonderful way to spend time and bond with your horse as your horse is usually in a relaxed state currently.
Want more? Read the rest of this piece on the SmartPak blog.