Wednesday, March 12, 2014

How to Bond Spiritually with Your Horse


How to Bond Spiritually with Your Horse

Having a spiritual bond with your horse is highly rewarding.  Knowing that your horse loves you unconditionally and will do anything for you is priceless.

People often email me how I bond so deeply with my beloved horses.  My horses are like “putty in my hands” as one spectator stated after seeing Apollo and I interact together as I was showing him off to his fans.

I'm well-known for my spiritual connection I have with my Friesian stallion, Apollo. I'm close with each of the horses I've owned and bonded with them from day one. Our first-day meeting is as though I had raised them from birth, they connect with me like family.


When shopping for a horse I only adopt horses that resonate with my spirit, it doesn't matter how beautiful or talented or well-bred a horse is if it doesn't touch my heart and soul then I know it's not the one for me. And with each of my horses which I've owned, I have had a spiritual connection energetically even before I met them in person.

The love and connection I share with my horses each horse owner can also have the same spirit to spirit bond as I do. It comes by living in your power and loving and respecting your horse as you would your best friend. Horses are extremely intuitive and can sense any fears, anxieties, worries, and concerns from you without you even being near them. It's highly important to leave your cares behind each time you go out to play or train your equine friend.

Help is on the Way

A few years back a lady locally called me that said she was having a difficult time catching her horses; she knew that I had a special bond with horses so she hired me to help her learn how to get her horses to come to her.

The first day I went to help her I walked into her pasture where her four horses were and as I did I spoke to them lovingly. Without hesitation, each of them came up and encircled me as they loved on me while I showed my appreciation to them through loving pats on the necks. The lady who hired said, "I've never seen anything like that, Carol..." as tears ran down her cheeks.

Then horses came to me because of my loving, caring energy I was putting towards them as I walked calmly and assertively into the pasture. They instantly read my body language and energy as I walked in which drew them to me.

A previous owner who owned my mare, Page, for eight years before I bought her asked me how I trained her to follow me so quickly and that was before I brought her home!  When in fact, I didn't teach her anything of the sort, she just followed me on her own from day one because she could sense my energy and love I had for her.

How to Select the Right Horse

Each of my horses from the moment I saw them online for sale touched my heart and soul, I knew without question that they were indeed meant to be mine.  When buying a new horse I always follow my heart with pondering and prayer as to which horse is to be part of our family.  

I sense the horse’s spirit and look into their eyes for softness, I feel their energy through the photographs of them online and then I call their owners and sense their energy. If their energy isn't in sync with mine then doesn't matter how amazing their pedigree is, the awards list is or how incredible their conformation is if the horse doesn't have a soft look in their eyes and energy about them I won’t even give them a second thought.

How Horses Show Affection and Trust

All of my horses lick me like a dog.  The follow me like a dog and they obey my vocal commands such as "come" when called. They do this to show their love, affection, trust and respect.

Horses show affection by licking, nuzzling, grooming and by following you around.  To get your horse to do all mentioned you have to take the alpha leadership role in your relationship. Always be the leader whenever you are with your horse. Be in your power by standing tall and acting like the alpha.

Horses read energy and body language like a book. The more you are in your power the more love and respect you will earn from your horse. Being in your power give your horse security and a sense of safety--which is also needed when free lunging and doing ground work to earn their love, trust, and respect.

Be gentle and always speak kindly just as you do to a child. To get your horse to lick your hands as mine do spend one on one time with your horse without asking her to do anything. Just hang out together. I often go and sit in Apollo’s stall in a chair and just let him nuzzle and lick me. It’s a lot a fun and it deepens our bond.

Welcome Home

When my horses first come home I make their homecoming just that, a welcome home party.  I invite my closest friends and family to be here upon their arrival, it is quite the celebration!  Upon arrival when my horse’s first get off the trailer I look right into their eyes, it is instantly like fireworks between us, as if we were saying to each other, “There You are! We finally found each other, hip, hip hurray!!!” 

Each of my horses instantly followed me like a puppy dog, without a halter & lead rope in my arena the first day they came home. You too can have a highly rewarding bond and connection with your equine friend that will stand the test of time. Having an equine companion is like nothing on earth, it's one of the main reasons most women buy horses. The magical spirit to spirit bond is utterly indescribable.  It's a euphoric feeling that edifies the core of who you are.

Bonding with a 1200 lb horse is empowering, knowing that your horse loves you and trust you as his leader is awe-inspiring.  The way to accomplish such a special bond that will last throughout eternity is through your energy and spiritual connection you establish with your horse.

As mentioned above, horses are extremely intuitive.  They sense everything about you and can read your energy and know your inner thoughts and feelings often better than you can yourself. If you are stressed and negative all the time you are putting off low energy vibrations which directly affects your relationship with your horse and will keep you from having a loving bond. 

Your horse is always a mirror of you.  If you manhandle your horse and believe that you can force your alpha role on him, think again!  Just as a child learns to love and respect her parents by receiving loving guidance and by their examples, so it is with your horse.  If you do not full-heartedly love, honor and respect your horse and treat them as you would like to be treated then your horse will become bitter and resentful towards you, and will only do what you request out of fear.

To know if you horse loves and respects you is by watching their body language towards you. Horses communicate through their body language. Does your horse meet you at the gate or call to you when he hears your voice? Does he walk next to you without a halter or lead rope following your every step when you are walking with him in an arena or round pen? If not, then you have some work to do, both energetically as well as on the ground (natural horsemanship).

Let go of Negativity 

If you are happy and confident then that will directly reflect back to you from your horse. Likewise, if you are in a state of negativity most of the time and are constantly complaining most of the time then how can you expect to bond with your horse?  You are unintentionally building an energetic wall around you as a protection from the world, including your horse.  Your spirit is magnificent, as is your horse.  When you let go of negativity and focus on your inner power your horse will reflect that back to you in his actions and affections he shows towards you.

You can bond with your horse no matter how long you have owned your horse; you can have the bond you and your precious horse deeply long for.  We all want a leader in our lives, we all want to feel safe and protected and want to have healthy food and clean water to drink to thrive, it is no different from your horse.  Horses are extremely intelligent, loving animals; therefore, they need constant love, care and attention just as we do.

Below are 8 simple tips to bond deeply with your horse.  You can have a deep love and bond between you and your horse.  When you connect deeply words will be unable to describe just how special your bond truly is.  You too will have a friendship based on unconditional love, trust and respect as do with my horses--it is truly magical beyond expression.

8 Tips to Bond Spiritually withy Your Horse

1.      Spirit to Spirit: Have you ever met someone and instantly you felt impressed, protected, safe, happy and inspired?  You felt that from the person’s aura which radiates from spirit.  That’s how it is with horses; they read your spirit first and then look to your body language for communication.  If you try to consciously be in a happy, thankful state of mind when you go to see your horse then your horse will indeed desire tenfold to be with you as opposed to going in a negative state of mind.

2.      Body Language: Your body language and energy radiate signals to your horse that you wouldn’t even think twice about.  When you are with your horse ALWAYS walk as though you were a queen, with power and confidence.  Walk with your shoulders back and stand with straight, have a stature of leadership and power.  If your boss came to you with slouched shoulders and didn’t look you in the eyes when she spoke to you would you be inclined to look up to her and do what she asked?  Probably not. So it is with your horse, they need you to step up to the plate and be a leader, not by force but by your energy and body language.

3.      The power of Energy: Your stomach or otherwise known as your solar plexus is your most powerful energy directing part of your body.  Keep your belly button aimed at an angle to your horse when calling to him.  If you stare at him head-on and demanding him to come to you excepting him to obey, you have another thing coming… disrespect.

By forcing your desires, you are actually blocking your horse from coming to you energetically.  Call to them in a fun-loving tone of voice and when your horse comes to you upon voice command praise him and reward him with scratching his favorite spot or by giving him an apple or carrot.  Positive reinforcement is the most powerful way to train any animal. All of my horses great me at the gate, they will even leave their food after feeding to say good-bye to me before I leave my barn.  It’s because I radiate a powerful loving energy which silently demands respect.

4.      Breathing in Your Essence: When your horse reaches out to you puts his nose to yours that is a huge compliment! Take a moment to blow back into his nose with your nose, allow him to take in your essence that is what he is doing.  He is taking scent or pheromones and, in turn, is bonding with you.  When your horse blows in your nose that is a gift, one that should not be dismissed.  Spend quality time with your horse by loving on him and just hanging out, no training, no work, just plain old quality bonding time.  Sit with him in his stall and read a book, give him a message as he eats, talk to him in your mind and out loud, let him know how much he means to you and that he will always be safe with you.  He can understand you far better than you may give him credit, so let him know often vocally and with action just how special he is to you.

5.      Free Lunging: Free lunging is one of the most overlooked training methods that is critical to bonding with your horse.  Free lunging creates leadership, trust, and respect. The first day I bring my horse’s home I go straight to my arena and take off the halter and lead rope and then love on them and allow them to blow in my nose and roll in the sand.  I then move their feet to establish right from the start “who” is indeed alpha!  If you do not establish that you are alpha mare then your horse will take that role, and that makes for an unsafe, nonbonding horse.

I free lunge with my body language and energy, I send them off with my lunge whip with my core aimed at the hindquarters.  Then I stand in the middle of the arena and have them trot and then canter around me, after a few minutes I call them into the middle of the arena by stepping towards the front of their shoulder and then stepping back one step, my horse then turns and comes to me in the center of the arena standing directly in front of me about 3 feet away.  I then step towards them and reward them with lots of love and praise. I then walk on and my horse follows me no matter what I do, stop walk or even walk backward, my horse mimics my movement.

When your horse mimics your movement you have made a connection and have bonded with him.  That is your horse acknowledging you as the leader.  However, if your horse ignores you and just walks away that is his way of showing disrespect, and that is when you move his feet again—with heightened energy. Once you establish who the leader is, love on him and walk him back to his stall with a treat in hand and let him know he did a job well done.

6.      Approval Feeding: When you feed your horse make him back away from you and wait for your approval to eat. If you horse ever pushes you with his nose he is trying to move your feet to let you know that he is the leader. If you horse does that move his feet fast by waving your arms and saying, “NO!” don’t ever allow your horse to push on you or come into your space without your permission, always go into his space to love on him.  That goes for feeding time as well.  The alpha always eats first and lets the other herd members know when they can eat, this is a form of leadership, even though you don’t eat hay you move your horse’s feet and then allow him to eat when you say so.

7.      Ask, Not Pull: When you walk your horse with a halter or bridle on ask him to walk with you by clucking before walking, letting him know that you are about to walk forward. Don’t ever pull on your horse, it’s rude and disrespectful. Horses appreciate love, kindness, and respect just as much as you do. When you yank on your horse's head and mouth with the halter or reins it’s the same as if your friend kept yanking on your arm to move forward, it wouldn’t take you long to be sick of your friend yanking on you, and if they didn’t ever stop you would soon become resentful. Horses are no different.

Asking also applies to when you’re riding. Always ride with soft hands, use your legs and seat to steer your horse, the reins and bit are simply tools to keep your horse between your aids and for subtleness. Pulling on your horse’s mouth is painful, be respectful of your horse on the ground and while under saddle. Always treat your horse as you want to be treated. If you horse does something that requires discipline then get after him quickly and be done with it.  Allow him to recreate the situation to do it correctly and then praise him for a job well done.

8.      Groom with Love: Grooming is another often overlooked time to bond with your horse. Too often I’ll go to an indoor arena and see horses with mud all over them with unkempt tails and manes. When you take the time to thoroughly groom your horse you’re not only caring for his physical being but also his emotional state of being. Talk to your horse as you groom and give him treats, make grooming a routine daily if you ride or not.  Bring along his favorite treats such as apples and carrots to give after grooming to let him know how much you appreciate his good manners and love.

Show your love by keeping up with your horse’s physical needs. Keep your horse's feet trimmed, schedule your farrier to come every 8 to 12 weeks. If your horse’s feet are un-kept it is a direct reflection of you!  Groom her regularly and talk softly to her as you do. Feed top quality hay and a multi/mineral vitamin supplement along with a digestive supplement such as Fastrack to keep your horses healthy and strong. And make it a point to exercise or ride your horse at least 3 to 4 times a week.

If you want to truly bond on a deep level with your horse then make time for you horse. Be her the friend and leader she craves. Take time to groom her daily and care for her as though she was a family member, all of which will strengthen your bond in addition to being the alpha in your relationship. By doing the above tips, you will surely have a spiritual bond with your horse that will gladden your heart and bring joy to your soul… it’s truly a little slice of heaven!.

Happy trails!

8 comments:

  1. Carol, Thanks for sharing these valuable insights. I am studying natural horsemanship and would like to know more about free lunging. How long do you lunge before inviting him in? Some schools of thought say to invite them in when they show signs of respect (licking/chewing/head lowering/ears facing you). I would like to use free lunging for exercise but do you think they could get frustrated if kept moving around after they indicate respect? I image they would think they're being misunderstood or having their feelings ignored, I'd appreciate your experience and thoughts on this.

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    2. You're welcome, Sox. Great question.

      Lunging is an art of energy and body language. You can invite your horse into your circle when he has his undivided attention on you. There isn't a certain amount of time, it's completely up to you. Just use your body language to call him into your space by getting him to look at you and then step back and shift your hips back a bit as to relax your energy directed towards him. Your power and energy comes from your core so as you step back soften your body language and draw him to you. It may take him a few times to understand what you're asking but once he turns and starts to come to you when you ask reward him with praise and love, and soon he will trot into you upon request with energy and enthusiasm. Once he's in your space love on him and then walk around with him, using your energy have him follow your every footstep without a halter or lead rope.

      Always reward his smallest efforts to understand what you're teaching him. The more you do the sooner he will catch on and the more he will enjoy his time lunging and the sooner you will gain his love, trust and respect more fully.

      Have fun training, it's highly rewarding to have a spiritual bond with your horse.

      Happy trails,

      Carol Whitaker
      Royal Grove Stables

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  2. Hi. My 11 year old daughter has a 4 or 5 year old Palamino mare. We have had her around 10 months. She comes to the fence to greet us and wants to be fed. She will eat out of our hands. But, that is all she wants. Basically, she only

    wants us for food and treats. She will let
    us brush her somewhat, but tires of that quickly. Sometimes, she will be patient and my daughter can braid her mane. If we go toward the pasture, but dont go right to her, she sometimes gets upset. She will start bucking and acting ugly, letting us know she wants our attention, mainly a treat right then. She has bucked my daughter off her back so we are afraid to let her ride her anymore. My daughter only wants to love her horse. But, how can we make the horse want more than just food from us.

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    1. Hello Bayleigh, as it is now your daughter's horse isn't suitable for your daughter. I always recommend to my clients who are new to being horse owners to get a horse that is well-trained and at least 10 to 13 years old. Although horses are incredibly loving and giving when trained and treated with respect, if a horse is not kind and gentle, especially around children, they can be unsafe and that can cause a fear of horses at a young age that can carry on to adulthood.

      I recommend sending your horse to a professional trainer for a few months to help get the buck out of her and to learn some ground manners. Then when she comes home you'll want to spend a lot of time on the ground training her as well by training Natural Horsemanship methods. I'm a big fan of free lunging to earn the trust and respect from a horse. The more time you spend training her on the ground the better she'll be under saddle.

      If after months of training she doesn't become respectful of you and your daughter in and out of the saddle then you may want to consider selling her to a more accomplished rider and then purchase a horse for your daughter that is safe and honest to help build her love and trust in herself and her horse again. All of my horses love children and have excellent ground manners, if they didn't I would find them a new home without question; safety is always first!

      Best of luck to you and your daughter.

      Happy trails!

      Carol Whitaker
      Royal Grove Stables

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  3. Hi carol
    I have a five year old standerd bred who is so sweet will walk up to me and nicker and follow me around. My problem is getting her to jump she will follow me over the jumps fine and jump them but once im onboard doesnt wont to im sick of people saying its because shes a standerdbred because shes got it in her. Any help would be awesome. Thanks
    Bo

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  4. BO - no idea if this will work, but, since your mare will follow you over the jumps, maybe you should try having someone else on her back, while she follows you over the jumps. This may create the linkup in her mind between jumping and having a rider on her back. If that works, then maybe see if she will follow the other person (on foot) over the jumps. If so, then you switch roles; with you on her back and your friend on foot going over the jumps with her. This then allows her to naturally get used to following your commands from her back, rather than on foot. Also, I would create a verbal cue for "jump" - use that same cue from the ground until she's learned it solidly, and then use the same cue from her back. So you have 2 methods of guidance/reinforcement of what you're asking for.

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