Have you recently become the proud owner of a horse or involved in helping to look after one? Maybe you’re even thinking about having your own horse one day? If you fit any of these categories, then the following resolutions on how to properly care for and bond with your horse might be useful.
Brush and groom your horse regularly and often. A well-groomed horse is a happy horse and the amount of care and attention a horse receives is fundamental in creating a unique bond between horse and owner. This special closeness is essential in having a good working rapport during riding sessions and will translate into quicker responsiveness by the horse to your commands in any given situation.
Spend lots of time giving your horse positive re-enforcement. The more your horse feels connected and lovingly controlled, the more willing it will be to follow your instructions and be better behaved.
Clean horse stalls at least twice a day and paddocks once a week. No-one likes to live in a dirty environment and this includes horses. Your horse will appreciate and be more comfortable living in well-maintained quarters.
Improve your cardio and you’ll have better control and stamina while on the horse. Also, this ensures you are fully energized to make split second decisions while riding. Improving physical fitness in general will improve your riding performance.
Improve your balance. A good exercise is to sit on a balance ball while lifting one leg off the floor at a time. This will improve your overall balance and will facilitate your body control and awareness in the saddle, which will allow for clearer, more precise communication with your horse.
Ride without stirrups at least once a week. This helps your overall strength and position, making you a more effective and secure rider. It’s a good resolution to work without stirrups at least once a week and if you’re feeling really ambitious, increase that to two or three times weekly.
Ride other horses if possible. When riding unfamiliar horses, you have to adjust your style to accommodate their quirks and responsiveness. Riding different horses occasionally makes you more aware of your own strengths and weaknesses as a rider, and think about training, riding, and how to convey your desires accurately. This will help you to ride your own horse better.
Buy some good riding clothes. A well-made jacket and jodhpurs will do wonders for your confidence and self-image as a new horse-owner.
Take lessons with a fully-qualified instructor. Regardless of any previous riding experience, you can always benefit from having lessons and an instructor can help you and your horse get acquainted properly right from the get-go and not develop bad habits as you embark on an exciting new endeavour as a fully-fledged horse owner!
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