Connection exercise 1, also known as “Bonding Time” is the most important exercise to do with your horse.
Most people place 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 herds. By regularly being a part of your horse’s group, a herd feeling grows.
Because of Bonding Time, horses become more curious and will look for contact with the human from their own initiative. And naturally, that is what we want: that the horse looks for contact himself, instead of the human always having to step towards the horse.
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.
Where do you do this exercise?
You can do this exercise in the meadow or in a paddock. You can separate your horse from the horses, but you don’t have to. I advise against doing this in a small space like a stable, because the horse can’t go far enough away from you if it feels the need to.
HOW do you do it?
It’s very simple. Sit on a chair, on a log, or on the ground, and don’t do anything. Just enjoy the environment: the view, the sounds around you, the sun on your skin or the wind blowing through your hair. You are just supposed to be together with your horse in the same meadow or paddock. You ignore the horse, which means that you don’t step towards it, look at it all the time or keep hoping that the horse comes to you.
If you find it difficult to do nothing, try reading a magazine, meditating, writing in your journal, knitting a scarf, or anything that can be done while sitting down quietly.
Another way to spend your Bonding Time is by strolling through the meadow or paddock — just like horses do. You walk through the grass and through the meadow, sitting down whenever you feel like it.
How often do you do it?
Ideally, you would spend time on this every day, but if that is impossible, you should at least make time for it a few times a week, even if you can only do 10 minutes each time. However, the more and the longer you can do it, the better. The more natural your presence becomes, the stronger your bond will become.
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