Have you ever gone to give your horse a big hug around the neck only to have them pull away and deny your love and affection?
Thought it was just your chestnut mare with major attitude?
The answer may be simple, and you and your horse may communicate through different love languages, which means, the way you give love may not be the way they like to receive love. There are many different ways to form a bond with your horse and understanding their behaviour is a key part in allowing you to do so.
Do you know your horses love language?
There are 5 love languages when it comes to your horse and how you can bond with them. It is very important to remember that whilst you want to be friends with your horse, you still need to remain assertive and be the boss in your relationship. Horses need clear leadership, instruction, respect, appreciation and boundaries. Think about a herd of horses, whilst they groom and play with each other, there is still a strict hierarchy that everyone is aware of. In your herd you need to be the boss mare, and correctly guide your horse while still making that deep connection.
The 5 love languages of the horse are:
- Words of Affirmation
- Verbal expressions of appreciation towards your horse
- Speaking in a positive tone when around them
- Calling their name when you are near
- Talking to them in a supportive and calming manner when there is a high stress or high fear situation
- Acts of Service
- Doing things your horse might enjoy such as trail rides or going somewhere new
- Giving scratches where they enjoy them
- Washing and spending time to groom them
- Extra feed and treats after hard work
- Being consistent in what you’re asking for and how you ask it
- Ensuring you give your horse the best possible tools for its performance and comfort (good quality tack, highly nutritional feed, etc)
- Receiving Gifts
- Giving your horse treats
- Toys they enjoy playing with
- Comfortable, well-fitting gear
- Rugs in cold weather
- A special something, such as a warm bran mash when it is cold, or a bucket of delicious molasses water when it is hot
- Quality Time
- Spending time with your horse to form a good relationship
- Taking them for a graze on grass when stabled or at a show
- Going for walks and teaching ground manners
- Making an effort to spend at least one hour per day with them to give them the consistency they enjoy
- Physical Touch
- Brushing and patting your horse
- Giving your horse massages
- Scratching and grooming
- Picking feet to ensure your horse is most comfortable
- Giving them hugs and kisses
Your horse may get confused when your love language is not the same as theirs and it can be equally confusing for you. It is essential to learn how to express your love language so that you can understand one another. Every horse is different and might respond differently to love languages that you know another horse enjoyed. It will take time to work out your horses love language, but when you do, you will understand them much better than before and you and your horse will form an unbreakable bond.