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The Importance of a Rider and Horse Relationship

Julie Frykman

Posted on October 16 2017

The Importance of a Relationship

Relationships are necessary in every aspect of our life. We need to have them, and we need to have healthy relationships. Relationships typically bring boyfriends, bestfriends, parents, grandparents, and other people to mind, but not always your horse. Which, as an equestrian, is the most important relationship to have.

Without a relationship, you and your horse will not even approach the potential you carry as a team. Think about it, why would that horse want to try for you if you won’t give him/her the time of day. What is going to make them what to keep you from falling off? Or simply cooperating with what you’re asking them to do? The best horse and rider pairs are the ones that completely understand their partner.

Take Lauren Kieffer and Veronica, they’re literally one of the best pairs in eventing. But the reason they are so successful goes beyond the fact that Lauren Kieffer is a good rider and Veronica is an amazing horse, it’s their bond. In one of my favorite articles regarding the pair, Kieffer mentions how they get along because neither of them like to be messed with, they like being left alone. Because of that, they both respect each other, and their relationship builds. It’s like their personalities connect to create a bond that exists only between the two of them.

For me, I spend loads of time building a relationship with my horses, especially because they are ottb’s. Of course some racing barns have exceptionally great care, but the majority of them do not. And having been to where I got Rebound from, I can say his previous home did not seem to value having high standards of care. Horses, like people, can remember the traumatic experiences of their past, but they are willing to forgive and forget much quicker when a relationship is built. Rebound has always been a very loving horse, he always wants to be in your pocket. So I took advantage of that when I bought him. And now, I have a relationship unlike anything I have ever experienced with a horse. I know he will do, and try anything I ask of him. Always. And he knows the same is true for me, I will never let him suffer, struggle or fall apart under my care. He is the love of my life.

So now you’re probably wondering what it takes to make such a bond. Well, every horse is different(obviously) but, I can tell you every trick I have learned over the years.

  • Lots of grooming, bathing and rub downs. That’s how horses build relationships with other horses in the wild
  • Spoil them a little bit, give them cookies when they’re good!
  • Lots and lots of hacking and trail rides, it is soothing for most horses to do something outside of the arena.
  • Acknowledging the horse’s individual needs, some like cuddles, some need their own space.

Relationships make your riding better, and I hope this has helped you with ideas of how to make a better relationship with your horse!


Rachel for Equestrianista


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