With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, we’re feeling the love in the air. Love for ourselves, our loved ones, the opportunities that lay in front of us, and love for our animal companions! You may find yourself wondering: “Does my horse like me? How will I know?”. Horse affection can be shown many ways, so we want to share some signs to look out for.
1. Your Horse Comes to You Naturally
Many horses are driven by the delicious appeal of food. If your horse stops eating to come over to you, they are showing that you are more important than their current meal. Staying calm and affectionate around your horse as much as possible will make them feel safe and more likely to come over to you without being asked.
2. They Listen to Your Commands
Have you noticed that horses will try to assert dominance every time a new horse is brought into the pasture? As herd animals, horses have a pecking order and establishing dominance is an expected behavior. This doesn’t change when they’re around humans – they might try to disobey you or buck to show that they are calling the shots.
One major sign of horse affection is when they accept you as their leader and listen to your instructions with respect. When this happens, you and your horse are much more likely to form a closer bond. They enjoy having a kind leader, even if they also want to be the alpha of their herd. Spending quality time with your horse will only strengthen this bond.
3. Nuzzling and Nickering
If your horse lets out a soft whinny or nicker when they see you, it’s a good thing! This is their way of expressing that they are happy to see you. Nuzzling is another form of affection. Whether they softly nudge or rub their lips on your shoulder, hand, or head, they are enjoying your presence. They may even give you a little kiss!
4. They Lean Against You
You may have noticed your horse leaning into you when you groom, pet, massage, or scratch them. This sign of horse affection is easy to notice and awfully cute. It’s also a sign that they trust you and see you as their leader. This is a good benchmark for knowing how your companion feels about you.
There you have it. As you strengthen your connection with your equine companion, keep an eye out for these signs of affection. Feel free to give some affection back with a treat, some pampering, and positive words of affirmation.
Instead of wondering: “Does my horse like me?”, think of ways you can make them feel more happy and at ease. They are very emotional creatures who can sense your emotions, so make sure to radiate peacefulness for the best opportunities to bond.
If you are looking to improve your horse’s health or have any questions about your horse’s behavior, contact the horse health care experts at BRD Vet Rx. We have been specializing in helping your equine companion feel and perform their best for almost 100 years.
Finally, it’s a new year. We can leave the struggles of 2020 behind us, and look forward to what 2021 has to offer! As you set your own goals, I’m sure that you are also making some goals for your equine companion. Let’s go over some horse training tips to guide you as you smash your milestones along the way.
Horse Training Tips –Building Trust Through the Basics
Any good relationship or skill starts with a strong foundation. Before you start making commands, take some time to check in with your horse. How have you two been connecting lately? Do they physically or behaviorally seem off?
Involved horse health care is important for your companion to be in the right mindset to learn. If you’re looking for ways to strengthen trust, try some bonding activities such as massaging while grooming, going for a walk, reading to them, etc.. They will feel safer around you, and more open to learning.
Patience is Key
We all know the saying “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink”. Well, make sure you’re not yelling at your horse, pushing it’s head down towards the water, or yanking it away when it won’t take a drink. This won’t help anyone, but it may destroy trust and give your horse a fear of water.
Forcing your horse to do things they aren’t ready for will only slow progress and hurt your relationship in the long run. Take your time – don’t put yourself (or your horse) on too strict of a timeline for learning something.
It’s all about working smarter, not harder. Come up with a plan, take breaks when you both need it, and let your horse take its time. You will thank yourself in the future.
Make A Plan
As I said earlier in this article – work smarter, not harder. You probably have some goals in mind, but looking into them further will make your horse training process more efficient. Start by looking at the big picture, then picking it apart.
For example, let’s say you want your horse to perform better. Performance could mean speed, agility, reaction time, listening skills, etc. Make each of these a separate goal.
If you want to increase agility, think of different tasks that could help your horse with this, such as practicing different heights of jumps or dodging objects in a course. Work down your list, and you will waste less time practicing without intention.
Don’t Forget to Have Fun!
Ok, you’re probably thinking “Duh, thank you captain obvious”, but it can be really easy to get wrapped up in expectations. Horses are such kind, loving, and smart creatures. So are you.
Having fun is one of the most important horse training tips you can remember – it’s about the journey, not the destination.
As you’re grinning at the finish line, prize medal in hand, you’re going to want to remember all the good times that you and your horse had along the way – not the frustrated screams and exhausted give-ups. With a thought-out plan and an even better attitude, you and your horse will go far in 2021!
The horse health care team at BRD Vet Rx hopes that you hit the ground running in 2021 with motivated minds and healthy horses. We have been helping horses feel their best for almost 100 years, feel free to contact us or view our products anytime.