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The Importance Of Affection
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The Importance Of Affection

Too often when training, riding, and working with our horses, we forget to show affection. While this may seem like small part of horsemanship, we need to remember the importance of affection and use it regularly. Horses are not machines programmed to do what we ask. They are living, breathing creatures, choosing to respect us. 

Remember To Be Grateful Anyone who has the chance to ride or own a horse needs to remember to be grateful. These huge, powerful, and amazing animals allow us to be around them and ride them. We can show them our gratefulness with affection.

Horses Learn From Affection We all know that horses understand the release of pressure. For example-We ask a horse to back up by applying pressure on the reins. When the horse backs, we release the pressure. This pressure and release cuing is the most effective way of communicating with a horse. However, if we add affection to the release of pressure, the horse feels more rewarded. For example - we ask the horse to back by applying pressure to the reins. When the horse responds, we release the reins, bend down, give the horse a scratch on the neck, and tell him what a good boy he is. This method gives you a deeper connection, a bond with your horse. The horse feels rewarded, motivated, and encouraged. Giving your horse affection also puts you in a better frame of mind. This small step can improve your riding and training by leaps and bounds.

Methods Of Affection Horses are very simple animals, so very simple things make them happy. We tend to over-complicate our rewards. A spoiled rotten horse does not mean a happy horse. A horse does not care how many apples you give him or how much you spent on his new halter. A horse is happy when he is with someone he feels safe and relaxed with. Here are my 3 favorite ways to show my horses affection:

1) A rough rub on the neck with my knuckles. This may not sound very pleasing to you, but it feels great to a horse. If you ever watch two horses grooming each other, or a mother grooming her foal, this will make sense to you. Make a fist and rub your horse's neck in front of the withers. Don't be afraid to press hard.

2) Talking to them in a calm, relaxed tone. A horse can understand your voice and when it changes. Telling your horse he did a wonderful job, and that you love him, is not in vain. They know.

3) Standing with them. This may seem really weird to you at first, but, after some thought it will make sense. Go out in your horse's pasture, stand with him, rub his neck, talk to him, and match your breathing with his. This relaxes your horse and makes him feel safe. When your horse feels safe, he will want to be with you and respect you. In addition, this will help you relax and forget all the stress in your life.

What ways do you show your horse affection? Leave your thoughts below in the comments. 

For More Info Visit-RidingSimply.com

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  1. arabobsession
    Love your article, I also sit in the yard with my mare and meditate, she can move around me as she pleases. It builds trust between us both, voted
  2. Thundersmist
    Good Morning! I no longer get to be among the blessed few who have horses or A horse in their life....so be it.... My favorite time to be with my mare...she was 1/2 Arab 1/2 Percheron. BIG Gray Girl. Bianca Bella. At night out in her pasture especially during a full moon( because it made her just shimmer!) I'd be with her. Some times we'd hug. Some times I'd massage her. Some times I'd groom her. Always talking in a low tone and rubbing and loving on her. She would relax and let out a huge sigh of contentment. I knew she was deep in her relaxation when her hoof was cocked and neck about even with her back line and a wonderful dreamy look in her eyes and one seriously loose lower lip....All of that with out asking a single thing of her except to let me be with her. I would smell her neck and muzzle and just drink in her scent. She smelled good! Amazingly she loved kisses on her muzzle too. I loved her white eye lashes against her black eye liner. When she looked at me....she really truly looked into me. It took years to win her over. She came with much baggage and emotional trauma. She was awesome to ride and a beauty to behold....she had to go to sleep in April of 2013.... I miss my best girl.
    1. HorseRiderSam
      Sorry about your loss Thundermist. Bella sounds like a real sweet girl. It is truly amazing when we develop such an awesome connection with our horses. -I agree, Horses Smell Amazing!!!
  3. yourlehrness
    All 4 of my horses are arabian, and all not only love kisses and quite time but will vie for "special love" attention from me. They all look for approval and want to be whispered to and told how much I love them. I can't impress on horse lovers to raise a horse from a baby. The bond and trust you can gain from them by showing love and respect from birth is incomparable. I can sit and watch horse play between them for hours.

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