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Daily Archives: July 15, 2020

Gaining Your Horse’s Trust Using 3 Simple Strategies

Discover how to build your horse's trust.

If you are anything like me, you got into the horse lifestyle because you love them, love the time spent together, and love all the memories made. 


But, like any relationship, it’s important that it is joyful, based on genuine trust and mutual connection — not a fight, a dread, worrisome, overwhelming, fear-based, or lacking trust. 

“Building a connection and trust-based bond with horses is the foundation to everything you want to do and achieve.” 

To build that foundation and gain your horse’s respect, in a fear-free way, focus on the big things first— the core elements that make your horse function. 

Only then can you step into that conversation and start to build a deep bond, mutual connection, and clear communication path that will last a lifetime.

These elements are eternal, profound, and universal amongst horses. 

Instead of rattling off a list of dos and don’ts, I’m going to share the underlying secrets behind strengthening the bond with your horse.

Put these secrets into place, and you’ll be rewarded with the lasting connection, genuine trust, and energizing willingness both you and your horse crave.

you can build your horse's trust using obstacles and unique objects

How does a horse define trust? It's based on their history of positive outcomes either with the object, situation or even the human they are with. Consistently, the horse knows their safety will remain intact, therefore they can now trust.

Understanding Horse Trust

There’s something that tends to come up a lot in life with horses, no matter the stage you are in. So, let’s talk about it, shall we


Most of the time, my inner conversations circle around… “Can I trust this?” 

“This” usually refers to a situation, human, or horse.

Your horse is no different. They are also constantly asking themselves…”Can I trust this?”

A horse who lacks trust will often be harder to train, unmotivated, unwilling, or will have many “issues” or “problems”

Other signs that your horse is untrusting may be running away from you, not standing when you go to mount, uncertainty when presented with new things, and herd-bound/buddy-sour behaviors. 

A trusting horse, on the other hand, will follow you anywhere and hardly flinch at something new.

A trusting horse will be willing to work because she knows you have her best interest in mind.

A trusting horse will be willing to work because she knows you have her best interest in mind.

These horses are attentive, motivated, and quick learners. 

When you build a foundation based on trust, it’s a lot like having a piggy-bank you can constantly pull from in the future. 

Each time you make a “deposit” that bank is getting bigger and bigger. So in training or a sticky situation you have that “currency” to go back and withdraw from.

Theres no such thing as failure when you are building a bond and connection with a horse

3 Secrets for Gaining Trust

Now that you understand why it’s so important to gain your horse’s trust and respect, let’s talk about how to actually do it. Here are the three secrets that will set you on the right path.

Be Predictable

The number one trust builder is to be predictable by being consistent!

Be a Good Listener

Your horse views this very different than you might think. Take some extra time & care here.

Ditch Your Expectiations & Allow Choices

How long is your list of expectations for your horse?


Be Predictable

Be consistent with your energy level, emotions, and how you show up around your horse.

Stay consistent with your communication, always sending and receiving messages in the same way — a way that both you and your horse clearly understand. 

Example: If you step into your horse’s space UNPREDICTABLY, it doesn’t matter WHO your horse is or WHAT you want to happen. You’re setting yourself and your horse up for an un-trustworthy situation. 

This 100% goes both ways.

I’ll bet you’re a bit like me, and what creates a feeling of distrust, is a simple fact that I don’t know what my horse will do next.

I cannot predict her next move…

This is no different from your horse’s point of view. Predictability is comforting for both of you.

Connection and confidence with your horse to go out and ride on the trail

A trusting equine partner is worth more than anything words or numbers can descirbe


Be a Good Listener

Being a good listener is a bit different from your horse’s perspective than you might think.

If I stop all my talking and simply listen to my horse, see, hear and understand what she’s saying… magic happens. 

Humans are verbal communicators.

Talking our natural go-to.

But, not so with horses. They communicate primarily through body language and eye, ear, and muzzle expression. This subtle language can be overlooked if you aren’t paying close attention. 

When you slow down your talking and simply allow the horse to “speak,” you’ll begin to see a shift in her demeanor.

Quickly, your horse will notice that you are understanding them, tuning in to what they are saying, and respecting set boundaries.

It can be as simple as showing your horse, “Hey, I see that you’re nervous. Let’s pause and take the time you need to feel safe and confident again.”  

Increase your awareness of your horse’s language, how she thinks, reacts, learns — and what motivates her to act.


Ditch Your Expectations & Allow Choices

I know this seems a little “out there,” but hang in there with me. 

We often show up around our horses, both with our actions and emotional intent, with a laundry list of “expectations” for how, when, where the horse should act, be, and do.

Now, I’m not saying ditch everything on your agenda. There are important do’s and don’ts your horse must follow to ensure safety.

What I am saying, however, is that we humans tend to be “control freaks” around our horses.

We constantly tell horses what to do and expect a perfect reaction. 

In a sense, it’s a “destination addiction” — we feel like we must arrive at a specific destination each time we work with our horses.

What I’m suggesting is allowing the horse freedom of choice.

A choice to say “no.”

A choice to walk fast or slow when worked at liberty (i.e. loose) in the arena.

Offer a suggestion as to what you’d like them to do, but let them ultimately choose how they respond. 

learn how to do liberty groundwork with your horse

Trust is built in these moments spent with no expectations and freedom of choice.

You as the human have to trust the horse to make a decision and allow her to own that choice and the impacts of that choice.

The horse begins to see trust in you because she is given a sense of empowerment. It builds confidence, and she is more invested in the activity because she chose to engage or participate.

There's is no set value that can accurately measure 'success' when it comes to horse + human interaction

Downlowd Everyone's Fave Guide!

"My Top 5 - 5 min. Exercises to Strengthen the Bond With Your Horse"

Discover my top 5 exercises to begin strenghtening the bond with your horse. Short on time? No problem! These only take a few minutes each time, so fit them in as you can. They are straight forward, and effective strategies you can take TODAY to begin improving the bond you have with your horse.