8 Ways to Be a Good Friend to Your Horse

8 Ways to Be a Good Friend to Your Horse

Horses require a lot of attention, and they’re very easy to overwork if you don’t know what you’re doing. If you take care of your horse as well as possible while also respecting his limits, though, you can create an even stronger bond with him than ever before. Here are 10 ways to be a good friend to your horse that will benefit both of you in the long run.

1) Get educated

You don’t have to be an equine expert, but if you want your horse to trust you it is good to educate yourself on what horses find frightening and how they behave when something scares them. Getting educated will allow you know how best approach your horse and be ready for anything that might happen. Knowledge is power, especially when working with horses.

2) Talk to your vet

Veterinarians are an incredibly valuable resource for horse owners. They can provide important advice on how to care for your animal, along with tips and tricks that you may not be aware of. A visit to your local vet is also an opportunity to troubleshoot any issues or problems you’re experiencing with your horse—even ones that don’t seem urgent—and allow him or her time to talk about your animal.

3) Keep yourself safe

While it’s fun to fall in love with your new horse, be sure you give yourself time to get used to each other. Riding your horse for just 15 minutes per day for three weeks is enough time for you and your equine companion to get comfortable with each other. This allows both of you a chance—and space—to gain trust and establish boundaries.

4) Choose the right tack and equipment

Not all horse tack and equipment is created equal. It’s important to do your research when choosing what products you want for your horse. How are they made? What materials are used? Will these products harm your horse, or have an adverse effect if worn for long periods of time? You need your tack and equipment to be safe but also comfortable.

5) Know what you're signing up for

You don’t have to be an equestrian expert, but you should at least understand how to ride and care for your horse. If you don’t, it may not be wise for you or your horse. Also keep in mind that owning a horse is expensive. Think about how much it will cost before making any decisions so you can make sure it’s right for you and your pocketbook.

6) Play is important

Horses don’t just like play for fun—they also need it for physical and psychological health. Playing with your horse helps burn off excess energy, so he’s less likely to fidget around in his stall, causing damage or injury. It gives him an outlet for emotions like frustration or boredom that can come up when he’s confined to a stall all day. It helps him develop social skills by interacting with other horses (and humans!). And sometimes it just helps him relax.

9) Respect your horse's space

Horses are social animals, but like people, some are more extroverted than others. It’s important for horse owners to respect their horse’s needs and body language—especially if that means giving your horse his space. Just because you want to be friends with your horse doesn’t mean he wants it.

10) Fall in love with your horse

All successful relationships start with love. Before you can even think about owning a horse, you should spend time getting to know them in their natural environment—the pasture. To understand how your horse thinks and why they act as they do, watch them in their own habitat before attempting to bring them into yours.

Horse GiRL

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