We all know the first best way to make friends with a horse… food.
But not feeding treats… That won’t work.
You have to sit and break bread with them, so to speak. From my experience, the quickest way to earn trust and friendship with a horse is to sit with them during feeding time, and slowly feed them the best parts of the hay.
Eventually, they will eat very close to you and nose you. That is when you are IN. It may take a month, but if you sit quietly, without expectation, and slowly move closer to the pile and then slowly pick out good bits and feed it slowly… in time, they will consider you a friend.
Of course, sometimes we all unintentionally do something crazy and clumsily human to scare the horse and break that trust … and if you do, never fear, go back to step one. Slowly sit near where they eat and work your way up to feeding them bits. If you are to be forgiven, this is the quickest and most sincere method.
ANYWAY, THE 2ND BEST WAY TO MAKE FRIENDS WITH A HORSE…
The neck stretching, lip curling, eye rolling sweet spot – the itchy part!
Yup. If you find their itchy spot, and scratch it… you will be in!
Now, the sweet spot is not a definite ‘always in’ – like the food trick described above. However, if you greet your horse warmly and immediately go for the itchy spot, you are treating him like his best horse friend treats him – and that is good. This action is very recognizable to a horse as a good intention.
So, if you want to make friends with a horse… maybe a wild horse, a leery horse, a new horse or a horse who feels betrayed:
a) Take your time… you have all the time in the world. This cannot be rushed. Any expectation ruins it.
b) Sit with them at feeding time. Slowly, when invited, go in closer. Eventually, feed them the good parts of the flake. When their nose nudges you calmly and sweetly while they are eating (not nudging you for a treat, but just nose bumping you while they eat), then you are IN.
c) Greet them kindly, touch their shoulder first and then gently find their itchy spot… and make their day!
If you get the neck stretching, lip curling, eye rolling reaction, you’ve struck horsey gold!
Try it! Send in pics!