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Want to develop trust wth my horse


My name is Candice and I have an eight year old mare and she isn't trained. Before I got her she was just use as a brude mare. I want to be able to ride her but I want her to trust me first. What would you suggest?


HI Candice,

Sorry it has taken me so long to respond. I have been in Europe (Greece and England) teaching and training horses for nearly a month.

Gaining a horse's trust and having a great relationship with your horse begins on the ground. Ground play (I don't like the word work) with horses is where your bond is really formed. If you have a round pen it is a great tool for developing a trusting relationship with your horse. If not you can rope off the corners of a small paddock. Basically you want to be able to ask your horse to move away from you and only go in a circle. You need some action with the horse that is gentle and establishes you as the great leader of parent. Asking a horse to yield some ground to you and move away from you if you move into the horse's space will do this. When the horse complies, say "good boy". Occasionally give a scratch on the neck or withers. I do not touch a horse's face as I feel it is disrespectful. In fact I show a horse a lot of respect for his personal space. I wait to be invited by the horse's demeanor before I get close or touch it anywhere. I want the same respect for my boundaries as well. One of the ways we gain respect is to show respect. Being consistently the great leader will attract the horse to you and develop the trust you are desiring. Have fun with the horse on the ground by lunging over low jumps or caveletties, sending him in and out of gates, stalls and trailers. Get creative and always you 'lead the dance' with skill, precision, kindness, good leadership and consistency. Once you feel you really have something good going on the ground, then you will continue that relationship when you ride. If you neglect the ground aspect of your relationship, you will never develop the bond you are seeking. It will always and only be about the human riding the horse and not about the horse itself in relationship with you.

I offer telephone coaching in training and equestrian skills now. If you have any interest, please let me know. Meanwhile, thank you for your question. Please keep me posted as to how it all goes.

Sincerely, Franklin

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