Be Your Horses Advocate
Several years ago, I rescued and rehabilitated two horses that had been almost starved to death. Their names were Poppy and General and they were nothing but skin and bones when they came to live with me. These two friends had been through thick and thin together (literally) and they were very dependent upon one another. When separated, they had a tendency to panic. One day, I made the mistake of trying to move them to a different pasture individually. First, I walked General to the other pasture leaving Poppy behind. The pasture was only a short distance away so I thought everything would be ok. General was fine but Poppy panicked. When I returned to get Poppy, he was completely "checked out". He whinnied and ran frantically in his desperation to rejoin his friend. I ran to get a bucket of feed in an attempt to draw him toward me. Although the food bucket was a good idea, it did no good whatsoever. Poppy continued to run around frantically.
In hindsight, I could have simply gotten General and taken him back to Poppy. Then I could have walked both of them together to the other pasture. Unfortunately for Poppy, I was caught up in the moment and I wasn't thinking so clearly. As I watched Poppy run himself into a frenzy, I developed tunnel vision. I was only thinking of how I could move Poppy to the other pasture. Although Poppy could not see General, he continued to run to the corner where he last saw him. Then, he would call for General and run to a different corner. I decided to block Poppy's path (by standing in the way) so that he could not keep running to the same corner. All of a sudden Poppy stopped running and turned to face me. Before I could even move, he ran straight up to me and I was able to put a halter on him. Much to his relief (and mine) I took him straight to the other pasture to be reunited with General. Although my strategy worked and all ended well, my actions resulted in a stressful situation for Poppy (which could have been avoided) if I had simply moved Poppy and General together. I lost focus of our relationship in my haste to move the horses.
Taking measures to create an environment in which your horse can be calm and relaxed will most certainly enhance your relationship. As your horse takes comfort in knowing that you will always be his advocate and protector, the bond you share will naturally deepen as well! I learned a valuable lesson that day which I will never forget. Always be your horse's advocate. The payoff is worth it. He will value your friendship more than you possibly could have dreamed.
Have a great rest of the week!