Connection exercise 1, also known as “Bonding Time” is the most important exercise to do with your horse.
Most people spent too little attention on this exercise because a lot of people alwasy have the feeling that they have to “do something”. If not, they feel nerveus 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 group animals and forge strong bonds with the other horses in their groups. By regularly being in the group of your horse, a herd feeling grows.
Because of “Bonding Time” horses become more curious and will look for contact with the human on their own initiative. And naturally that is what we want: that the horse looks for contact itself, 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” the bond will always be less strong!
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 other horses with whom it walks in the meadow, 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 is very simple: sit on a chair or on a log 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 that hard, read a magazine, meditate, write in your journal, knit a scarf or do something else that calms you down and you can do while sitting down.
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 and you can sit down regularly.
How often do you do it?
I would advise you to spend time on it every day, but if that is impossible for you at least make time for it a few times a week, even if it’s only 3 times 10 minutes. However, the more and the longer you can do it, the better. The more natural your presence becomes the better and it will strengthen the bond with your horse.
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