Sharing a strong bond with your horse is essential; you cannot achieve a winning partnership without it. Here are some simple ways to bond with your horse at home.
Give Your Horse A Good Groom
Horses bond by grooming each other, so grab your grooming set and brush away. A good grooming session should last at least an hour. You can further your session by using massage techniques after you have finished.
Walk Your Horse Out In Hand
In hand work is a great way to bond with your horse, and if you stand by his shoulder, you can see his facial expression.
Practice walk, halt, walk transitions in the school to start with and progress to leading him outside down a quiet lane. Just taking him for a walk in hand will help you bond. Sit on a wall and pick some nice long grass to hand feed him.
Teach Your Horse To Turn Around The Forehand
Stand by his shoulder, and with a schooling whip held alongside his body, tap him on his inside hind leg, on the thigh or cannon bone (whichever works the best) to ask him to step away from you. Alternatively, press him with your fingers by the girth where your inside leg would be.
The movement resembles shoulder-in 'around a dinner plate' with the front legs stepping around 'the plate' without crossing. The hind legs should cross over in big, sweeping steps. This exercise is excellent for getting your horse listening, thinking and working close to you on the ground, rather than only listening to you when you're in the saddle.
Learn To Long-Rein
Long-reining is a great way to improve the bond between you and your horse and improve your schooling at the same time. Practice school movements in a walk, such as circles of different sizes, serpentines, leg yield, shoulder-in and so on.
Master Halting Square
With your horse in hand, try to achieve a square halt. If your horse leaves a leg out behind, touch the offending leg with a very long schooling whip, or use an old lunge whip with the lash chopped off (leave about 3 inches of lash attached).
Try not to fiddle around too much with the halt. If your horse won't stand square with a couple of taps, walk on and try a new halt.