How To Gain Your Horse’s Trust
Natural horsemanship also operates on the principle that horses and humans communicate in completely different ways.
Specifically, horses are less verbal and use their body language, while people are more verbal and use much less body language.
If you watch horses interact in a pasture or watch a mother with her foal, three main types of interaction and communication become apparent.
You often see horses out in a pasture grooming each other and scratching each other’s withers. With a newborn foal, you see the mother lick it and nuzzle it. The common element in these two observations is that the horses know that the other horse is safe and that they can be friendly with each other.
The first form of communication that you want to establish with your horse, with the goal being to prove to the horse that you are not going to hurt them, is called The Friendly Game.
Cece and I encountered some problems when first exposing her to the friendly game. She ran around and was not convinced that me throwing a string over her back was friendly. What I did in this situation was I kept throwing the string over her back until she stopped moving her feet or relaxed more.
Horses learn what is the correct thing for them to do by when you stop doing what you are doing or take the pressure off. For example, me throwing a string over Cece’s back is pressure because she feels as though it is threatening to her. If I stop throwing the string over her back when she stops moving and relaxes, she learns that this is the right behavior.
The Friendly Game is the first step towards gaining your horse’s trust and having them no longer think of you as a predator.
But this is just the first step. What you need to learn next are two very important games of communication, the first of which is how to move your horse with steady pressure.