How do you spend time with your horse?

Uliy

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13 April 2013
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After many years of wishing, I recently bought my dream horse. I love her so much already (there really is nothing like having your very own horse!) but I am under no illusion that she is not really that bothered by me.

She is on full livery so I want to avoid the feeling of being like a riding school client just turning up, tacking up and riding. I do groom her, do a few carrot stretches etc, but is there anything else I can do with her? I’m thinking particularly of her days off, so whilst groundwork suggestions are welcome, I’m trying to think of ways to spend time with her that don’t involve going into the arena.

Thanks all for your help!
 

CobletCymraeg

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I take my girl for walks and for some in hand grazing like Auslander said. We also have mutual grooming sessions where I scratch her hard to reach places and she does mine for me! And sometimes, I just take a cuppa (travel mug) and a book (trying to limit phone usage!) and just sit and chill. I often find that she comes over to me when I do this, and just wants to stand and doze, or graze near me (she has individual turnout, so I have no others to worry about).
 

Annagain

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My retiree is currently in the field 24/7. It's a fair walk to the yard and he's just had his shoes taken off so I leave him there while his feet adjust and do all my checks in the field at the moment. We have a lovely cwtch every day too, he's turned into a real snugglemonster since retiring. Once he starts coming in overnight (yard rules) though, I'll be taking him for little walks down the lane to pick the best grass and when the cow parsley is out (his favourite thing ever) I've promised him a good munch every day. He's not too fond of being brushed and will be rugless if he copes with it so needs all the oils in his coat so I won't do too much brushing now until spring but some horses really like a good groom.
 

dorsetladette

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There is a facebook page called 'The non ridden equine association UK' people often post on there about stuff they do with their horses from the ground. a lot of it is hand walking, but there is a few other idea's too.
 
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If you can find her itchy spots you will be well on your to becoming her favourite person - some common ones are under the mane, top of the poll, between the eyes, chin, and ears.
You could do some basic tricks - mine knows kiss, touch and the beginnings of Spanish walk. Only if you know she won’t try and nip you or get frustrated- I trust mine 100% on the ground so I’m happy teaching him most things.
Sometimes I just sit in his stable whilst he’s munching hay. He’ll come over every now and then and whuffle at me but isn’t bothered otherwise. It’s nice just to be with them.
 

skint1

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I'm not riding either of mine right now for various reasons. We practice our ground manners (much needed for the gelding) and I do inhand poles with the mare and take them for a wander either for a munch or leg stretch/change of scenery. I groom them when I can and sometimes just stand at the field gate and admire them or if I am in the field poo picking we practice being kind to each other (that too is aimed at the gelding hahah) I've got a few videos to watch from a guy called Jenku, but haven't got round to it yet that teaches a few relaxation/flexibility exercises and stuff like that. I must watch them. Might join the non-ridden Facebook group, I feel like such a failure most of the time because I am not riding, but the horses seem happy enough.
 

Bernster

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Itchy spots! My boy loves it and makes it very clear which spot needs attention. New girl also seems to enjoy a good scratch too so now I am groomer in chief for two of them.

I once attempted that romantic notion of sitting in the field chilling with finnegan (in the summer). He fussed and nudged me for treats and then nearly trod on me, so I abandoned that one pretty quick!
 

CobletCymraeg

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I'm not riding either of mine right now for various reasons. We practice our ground manners (much needed for the gelding) and I do inhand poles with the mare and take them for a wander either for a munch or leg stretch/change of scenery. I groom them when I can and sometimes just stand at the field gate and admire them or if I am in the field poo picking we practice being kind to each other (that too is aimed at the gelding hahah) I've got a few videos to watch from a guy called Jenku, but haven't got round to it yet that teaches a few relaxation/flexibility exercises and stuff like that. I must watch them. Might join the non-ridden Facebook group, I feel like such a failure most of the time because I am not riding, but the horses seem happy enough.
I feel the same with regards to being a "failure" because I'm not riding her, and like I'm "wasting her", but when I actually sit back and think about it, she does more and has more time spent with her than the "in work" ridden ones. So I can't be wasting her too much!
 

oldie48

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Rose likes her itchy places scratched and quite likes being groomed, however, she works quite hard and I like to just let her be a horse when it's "her Time" If I go into the field for any reason, she usually ambles over to say hello, so she gets a rub and then she ambles off again. The only time she shows any real interest in being with me is if Fatty comes over to say hello, then she is aggressive to Fatty and much too much in my face, so I don't encourage it.
 

Cinnamontoast

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Longlining? Join up?

Mine’s retired, so he gets a fair amount of grooming. Last week, I was watching YouTube videos and listening to music in his stable, he was leaning on me falling asleep. I often sit opposite him and look at Facebook or something. He likes to be able to see me.
 

TPO

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A ray of sunshine 🌞
Just hang with her and chill with no expectations so that it's a nice time for you too.

As others have said hand grazing, itchy spots, bodywork and just going for a walk are all nice ways to spend time together and get to know her.

Warwick Schiller writes a fair bit about "matching steps" when walking, with horse leading, and lots of other subtle things about body language. His series Principles of Training is free on youtube I think so you might pick up some relationship building hints from them too
 

Carmen6

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I had a loan pony who was really switched off where people were concerned. He was a good boy, and he'd do what was asked of him, but he was like a robot. Very job-focused.

I spent time with him, lots of grooming, in-hand walks, playing in the sand arena - just bothering to do more than turn up, muck out, ride, then leave.

It took 3 months for him to decide that he liked me.

My ex turned up and met said pony ONE TIME and the little traitor was smitten.
 

LadyGascoyne

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How much do you hack?

Mine don’t get ‘off’ days. If they aren’t being ridden or walked out in hand, it’s because I am too busy to be there.

They will hack out 7 days in a row, no problem and I do walk my youngest in hand a lot too, which I really enjoy.

Other than hacking, I do stretches, scratches, bodywork, pole work on the lunge, groundwork and I often sit in the field and read with my two. I love to watch them interact, and watch what my youngster gets up to. She’s hilarious.

If I’m reading quietly, the young one will come and cuddle. The older, wiser one tends to be interested but doesn’t climb all over you like a Labrador puppy.

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Adoni123

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I will do a join up with my boy sometimes - google it! Please be wary that this might not work for more nervous types and may ruin your relationship but my boy seems to enjoy me chasing him around and playing with me a bit!

Carrot stretches for sure - I massage him as well with an array of massagey tools (my physio has told me what to do prior so might want to check!). I also itch him in his itchy spots (you'll know by the face when you find them!)

One of my favourite things to do is find different things for him to eat that he might no have tried and watch his funny face and the huff/happiness that follows! We've been doing berries recently (obviously check things aren't poison for horses)

Sometimes I take him for a walk in hand too down the shorter hacks on his days off and let him eat the different bushes and trees (again, check what horses can eat prior) which he enjoys!
 

sherry90

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20 November 2012
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Trimming, grooming, massage pad and a brew (brew for me, massage for him!) general faffing. I also do pole work and groundwork but in a fun way - think like agility and little tasks to make it fun!
 

Ranyhyn

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21 November 2008
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Yeah I just hang out, mines out semi retirement possibly not retired if I'm not too lazy and she lives out mainly so we just mooch. Ill scratch her while she's out, go feed her some treats etc. she's sometimes allowed on the yard if its wet so i might sit and have a coffee with her. To be honest I'm sure she doesnt really care but I enjoy it :D
 
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