Some people have a special bond with their horse. They have earned and developed trust! Horses are not cuddly or warm like dogs, but they show their trust through respect. Once you have it, they’ll see you as a herd leader. Riding and training will be much easier!
4 Steps to Building Trust
1. Establish Respect
If you’re working with a new horse or want to improve the relationship with your current one, then you need to establish respect. This is accomplished through setting boundaries. Because of their size and strength, horses must respect your space. They can’t push or bully you. Make sure you’re firm with this request. If they wander too close, back them up or move them sideways.
2. Consistent Groundwork
Groundwork is the foundation for respect and trust! Various exercises can be used to communicate with your horse. You’ll want to listen to their body language and respond according. Find a good trainer who can show you a few techniques and practice them consistently.
The reward doesn’t always have to be a pat on the neck or carrot. Releasing the pressure and giving your horse a moment to relax is also rewarding. You want your horse to find their work with you enjoyable, so give them something to look forward to. Try to keep your sessions positive, rather than aggressive and demeaning.
4. Be Patient
Good things take time! The more positive work you do with your horse, the more trust they’ll develop. Help them to figure out that you’re a leader and plan to keep them safe. It won’t happen overnight, but keep a outlook for small signals like willingness and desire to be with you.
Earning your horse’s trust is a huge accomplishment!
Make sure to check out: 20 Groundwork Exercises To Master With Your Horse