The Pivoriders Team
There are many online articles, YouTube videos, and content about “how to build a strong relationship with your horse” or “how to bond with your horse.” Most of them are good, but they are usually made by people who live on big and beautiful farms and have the blessing of living right next to their stables. Most of them even have their own arenas.
But what happens with riders who live in big cities and ride before or after their jobs? People who go to a riding club or farm to ride and head back to town afterward.
City riders may own a horse or several horses, lease horses, or ride horses owned by the riding school or teacher. If this is your case, this article will help you build a strong relationship with your horse/s and to connect with any horse you ride. This will be beneficial to improve your skills as a rider, and it will also help to lower your stress level.
Bonding with horses is very therapeutic, relieves stress, and helps you deal with daily problems. That’s why equine therapy is so popular these days. Horses can hear our heartbeats from four feet away. Horseriding is an amazing activity for people living and working in big cities with stressful and demanding jobs.
Take Some Time to Bond With Your Horse Before and After Riding
Many people are used to arriving at the horse farm, riding club, or place where they ride to quickly change clothes and find their horses tacked up. Everything is ready to enter the arena and ride or take a lesson. Some places even have a special area where teachers or assistants help people to get on the horse. After the lesson, most of these places make people dismount in the arena or outside the stables. It’s like a “horse valet parking service”. It’s very hard to bond with horses in these places. People only have time to spend time with the horse while riding. In some of these places, this is how things work. Sometimes, this working method is offered by riding clubs as a premium service.
Horse riding is not like other sports like tennis, where you can get to the court, warm up a little and start playing. Your horse is not a tennis racket; it’s a living creature and your partner. The better you two understand each other, the better you will work as a team. Besides, I’m sure a Tenis professional would tell you to arrive at your lesson or match with enough time to clear your head and focus on the game. Horse riding is the same, plus you need some extra time to bond with your horse.
Handling, grooming, and tacking up your horse before you ride and cooling it down, untacking, and grooming it again after you ride are great ways of spending quality time with your horse. It’s understandable that you can’t do it every day, but try to make some time in your schedule to do it as much as possible. Bonding with your horse will improve your riding experience and help you to train it better.
Seize Every Moment You Spend With Your Horse
Every minute you spend with your horse is an opportunity to grow your bond with your horse. Don’t expect to see results in the blink of an eye. If you are constant and committed, you will notice how your horse will become more responsive and willing to follow your lead.
If the weather allows it, taking your horse out to graze is always a great way to improve your relationship with your horse. It’s a relaxing experience, and it’s good to do it after a hard training session. Your horse will stretch its neck and will relax its muscles. You can stay as long as you want. If your horse is quiet, you can find a good spot to sit and enjoy the moment. If you are on a tight schedule, 15 minutes will be enough to strengthen the bonds.
No matter what kind of equestrian sport you are doing, there are moments when you need to focus and work hard. Use those moments to strengthen the relationship with your horse. If things go well, don’t miss the chance to praise and compliment it. If things don’t go as planned, don’t take out your frustration on the horse.
Celebrate your and your horse’s wins, no matter how small they seem to you. Make your buddy know that he did a great job.
Plan a Routine to Spend More Time With Your Horse
Bonding and creating a strong relationship with your horse is as important as training.
Work on a routine that suits your daily activities. If you are on a tight schedule, talk with your instructor and plan days with shorter training sessions. This will allow you to spend more time with your horse. You can add groundwork to your training. Groundwork is a great way to strengthen your bond with your horse and to make it see you as the leading figure. It helps to make your horse more responsive to voice commands and focus on you. Besides, groundwork improves contact, neck lateral and longitudinal flexion, response to pressure, and much more.
Last but not least, take some time to play and have fun with your horse. You can do many things to have fun while strengthening your bond with your horse. You can scratch, bathe, and even play with a horse. These are things that people living near their horses can do daily. If you are a busy person, you should find time to do it or include these activities in your riding agenda. If you manage to do it, you will see how this practice will translate to great results in the arena.