How to Bond with Your Horse


Bonding with your horse should start on your first day and continue throughout your life together. The more the two of you bond, the better you get to know, understand and trust each other.

Bonding in the stable

A good early bonding exercise is to run your hand over all of your horse’s body. Using the palm of your hand, start at the ears and trace your hand over the whole face, stroking over the eyes, down the nose to the nostrils, and then back up under its chin before going down the neck.

How to Bond with Your Horse  Horse Bond

While slowly moving your hand over your horse, you may discover some areas of sensitivity or some where it particularly enjoys being touched-you can focus on these each day. Some horses are sensitive on the girth area behind the elbow or under the belly and may try to bite or kick to avoid these areas being touched; others enjoy being scratched around the withers or near the base of the tail.

Work your hand over the shoulders, going across the girth area and down the front legs. Move to the underbelly and continue toward the hindquarters. When handling the hindquarters and legs, stand to the side and not directly behind the horse. If you accidentally alarm it or the horse reacts adversely to you touching a particular place, you need to be in the safest position possible to avoid injury to either yourself or the horse.

Bonding in hand

Another excellent bonding exercise can be done in hand. With the horse in a halter, hold the lead rope at least 20 in (50 cm) from the clip and ask him to walk alongside you. After several steps, stop and stand still. Do not give him any voice commands but watch him to check if he also stops. Ideally, he should follow your lead and stop when you do. If he does not stop, take a couple more steps and stop again. If he still fails to stop, a couple of light tugs on the lead rope may be needed to get your message across. If he turns in to face you when you stop, correct this immediately by turning him back into the direction you were going.

When you have established the halt, turn around so that you are facing the horse. Put the lead rope in your left hand and with your right hand press your fingers on the front of his chest. He should walk backward from the pressure of your hand, just a couple of steps. Ideally, he should move from the lightest touch from you, although such lightness may take a little time to establish. Turn yourself around, take up the lead rope again, and walk on, stopping again in a few strides. Repeat the correctional aid if he continues to walk on when you have stopped. Once he has understood your needs, try this in trot. Ideally, there should be no need to use the voice as your actions should be all he needs, but you may need to use some vocal commands to support your actions initially if he does not understand what you require of him.

This exercise can be particularly useful in the early days and really helps you both to start working in harmony together.

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  4. How to Ride a Horse
  5. How to Build a Solid Relationship with Your Horse

Filed Under: Pets & Animals

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About the Author: Fred Goodson has a passion for pets and animals. He has 4 dogs and is planning to have another one. He is also a blogger who writes about pets and animals. Currently, he is living in New Jersey.

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