It’s a rarity to be able to spend time alone with your horse. With the hustle and bustle of boarding stables and barn life, one is hardly ever by themselves in the barn. It’s not safe to ride alone, so for the most part, horse owners plan their times at the barn precisley around activity for the safety aspect.
We plan to meet our friends at a certain time. We plan to ride together, we plan to bath our horses, plan to pull manes, plan to hand graze our horses. The comaraderie at the barns is fun. We get to hang out with our horse and hang out with our friends at the same time.
But every once in a while, there comes a time when it’s just you and your horse. The two of you, alone. Hello, horse! You can learn a lot about your horse when it’s just the two of you. You can learn a lot about yourself. Are you comfortable with your horse? Does he or she make you nervous? And if so, why? Think about it.
Is your horse relaxed in your presence? Does he or she seem affectionate toward you, or aloof? Remember, being alone with you is a different experience for them too. You might want to use this alone time to get to know him or her better? Do something out of the ordinary. If scratching his or her neck or back in not your customary practice, give it a try. They might like it. Watch for signs of curiosity, pleasure, happiness.
If your horse is prone to pawing when in crossties, and all of a sudden is standing perfectly still, content as can be, you may be onto something. If he or she starts fidgeting uncharacteristically, that says volumes too. Step back and just start talking to your horse. Don’t worry that someone is going to show up and think you’ve taken leave of your senses. All intuitive horsemen and women talk to their horses. Talk and then get quiet and watch and wait for your horse’s responses.
Do they tilt their heads and look at you? Do they lower their heads? Do they heave a sigh? Do they rest a hind leg? Does their lower lip start to sag? These are all signs of interest, contentment, happiness. This might be a good time to drop the crossties and just ground tie your horse. Show confidence in him or her. Let them know with your actions that everything is okay.
Are you comfortable in your surroundings? This is very important, because if you are not, that’s going to transfer over to your horse whenever you are there. What’s giving you cause for concern? It’s imperative that you be comfortable at the barn, and if not, figure out why. It could be something as simple as not enough lighting, a dark parking lot. Bring up your concerns to the barn owner.
You want to enjoy your time with your horse whether you are there alone or if the barn is bustling with activity. You want to be able to treasure this alone time with your horse.