January 2nd,  2014

By Karine Vandenborre

Bonding Time

Connection exercise 1, “Bonding Time”, is the most important exercise to do with your horse. Most people give too little attention on this exercise because a lot of people have the feeling that they always need to be “doing something”. If not, they feel nervous or they think they are wasting time…  But during this exercise you are not supposed to do anything. You just have to BE THERE.

What is the goal of  “Bonding Time” ?

Horses are herd animals and forge strong bonds with the other horses in their herd. By regularly being a part of your horse’s group, a herd feeling grows.

During Bonding Time, horses become more curious and will look for contact with the human from their own initiative.

And that is what we want: that the horse looks for contact himself, instead of the human always stepping towards the horse first.

After a while, a stronger sense of belonging grows. Your horse doesn’t see you as someone who always wants something from him but as someone who is regularly present in an unobtrusive way. The horse will start to appreciate your company and the bond with your horse will become stronger.

This exercise is the foundation of everything you will ever want to do with your horse. Without enough Bonding Time, your relationship with your horse will never reach its full potential.

You can react in 2 ways

During Bonding Time horses can react in a lot of different ways. Some horses become pushy and intrusive, other horses are calm and more friendly.  Some horses become curious, others adopt a more wait-and-see attitude.  Some horses try to drive you from your spot, others come lying down close to you.

In all those situations you can react in 2 ways: or you stimulate the horse to bond with you, or you demotivate the horse to bond with you. So how you react in every situation is crucial.