Whether your horse is recovering from an injury or your arena is too muddy and you can't ride, there are still plenty of ways to bond with your horse from the ground.
So, next time you are at the barn and can't tack up and ride, try some of these activities instead!
1. Go for a Walk (Hand Walking)
Hand walking is a fun way to get outdoors, improve your horse's fitness and develop a closer relationship with them. Walking is a low-impact activity that all horses can benefit from, especially those that need extra attention.
Since you are walking side by side with your horse instead of being on top of them, they'll be able to more easily navigate hills and water crossings. You'll bond with your horse by learning to see the world from their perspective and help them develop confidence, which will transfer to your time in the saddle.
2. Try Agility With Your Horse
Looking for a bonding exercise that's exciting and can help desensitize and train your horse at the same time? Try agility! With horse agility, which is inspired by dog agility, you'll use just a halter and lead rope as you help your horse navigate obstacles.
Whether done for fun or competitively, horse agility helps you better understand your horse and how they react to scary or challenging situations. You'll learn how to improve your communication with them as you break down obstacles they are struggling with and reward them for their attempts.
3. Groom Your Horse
Grooming helps keep a horse's coat, hooves, mane and tail beautiful and healthy. Grooming also gives you time to inspect your horse for any injuries or signs of soreness and pain.
Some common supplies needed to thoroughly groom your horse include:
- Curry comb
- Stiff and soft finishing body brushes
- Face curry and brush
- Detangler spray or serum
- Mane and tail comb
- Hoof pick
- Hoof ointment (if needed)
As you groom your horse from head to hoof, you'll learn where they like being brushed. Along with helping them look and feel their best, you'll get to spend some quiet time bonding with your horse at the barn.
4. Massage Your Horse
Massaging is a great way to treat and prevent soreness as well as pamper your horse. Horses can get sore from ill-fitting tack, excessive training or rough play when they are turned out.
While you can do massages by hand, incorporating techniques such as compressions and effleurage, you can also use liniment or massage gels to increase the effectiveness of the rubdown. There are plenty of equine massage tools and rollers that you can experiment with as well.
Once you're able to ride, you may even want to make the massage a regular post-trail treat to ease your horse's muscles.
5. Give Your Horse Treats
Whether you are clicker training or simply want to spoil your horse, you can strengthen your relationship with your equine partner by giving them something they love — treats.
Even if your horse is a picky eater or has a health condition such as equine metabolic syndrome (EMS) or insulin resistance, there are plenty of flavors and low-sugar treat options available. After you find a treat your horse loves, you can either feed by hand or add a few pieces to a ball feeder for an enriching activity.
Horse Tack Co. Has the Equestrian Supplies You Need to Bond With Your Horse
Here at Horse Tack Co., we understand the importance of bonding with your horse, which is why we stock a wide selection of apparel, tack, stable supplies, training aids and other products that we ship to riders throughout the United States.
Whether you are looking for a new halter and lead for hand walking or agility training, horse grooming supplies or treats, you'll find everything you need on our site. Best of all, our fast shipping will have you back at the barn bonding with your horse in no time.