Bombproof is a term used in the horse world to describe a horse that isn’t afraid of anything; the idea is that a bomb could go off a few feet away from the horse and it wouldn’t even flinch. The way to make your horse bombproof is by putting them through desensitizing training. Desensitizing is when you introduce your horse to everything they may be scared of and help them understand why they don’t have to be afraid.
So, what are some ways to bombproof your horse? Here is a list of desensitizing training that I put my horses through in order to make them bombproof:
- Desensitize your horse to pressure on their limbs
- Desensitize your horse to foreign objects
- Desensitize your horse to things touching them
- Desensitize your horse to certain noises
- Desensitize your horse to tight spaces
- Desensitize your horse to activity
I find that these categories and the techniques that I use for each end up covering most of the things that horses may be scared of. It’s important to know how to correctly handle a horse when desensitizing, as it can be quite easy to have the opposite effect on the horse. If a horse is rushed or not properly prepared, you could possibly make them even more scared of the situation than before.
I’ve included a description of the techniques I use for each of these desensitizations in order to help you better understand how to communicate with your horse in these instances. These techniques have all worked for me with numerous horses, but it’s important to remember that there are many training methods out there to learn from and try out. If mine doesn’t work for you, don’t worry; there’s one out there that will!
Desensitize Your Horse to Pressure On Their Limbs
Why You Should Desensitize Your Horse to Pressure On Their Limbs
Horses can be more sensitive when things touch their legs, head, and ears. In the beginning, horses will usually fight unwanted pressure when it’s applied to these areas. This pressure will make the horse feel trapped. If you take time to desensitize these areas to pressure ahead of your bombproof training, your horse will be able to better handle scary objects touching the limbs.
There are more reasons to do this besides just to make your bombproof training easier. By teaching your horse to give to pressure when applied to these limbs, you can potentially save them if they are ever caught in a dangerous situation.
I grew up foxhunting, and the thing that was always stressed while on the hunt field was to keep your eyes out for loose barbed wire that your horse’s legs could get tangled in. We would often discuss how to handle a situation where your horse would get stuck like that.
Horses will tend to panic if they get something wrapped around their leg and is keeping them from going forward. They’ll pull and kick and topple over, which could damage the leg greatly. If you train your horse to give their leg to pressure when it’s applied, they’ll learn that if they ever feel something pulling at their leg, they should just stop, stay calm, and not fight the pressure.
Same with the horse’s head; if a horse gets its head stuck between fence panels, it may cause the horse to panic and fervently pull back. I’ve heard of horses breaking their necks this way. In order to avoid this, you can teach your horse to give to pressure when applied to the top of the head. Instead of fighting the feeling of being trapped, the horse will remain calm and keep its head lowered.
A Technique for Desensitizing a Horse to Pressure On Their Limbs
With this technique, I’ll usually start with desensitizing the horse to pressure on its head; this is quite simple to do. I start by putting one hand on their poll directly behind their ears and then with my other hand, I grab the lead rope close to the buckle. All I do is apply slight pressure to both the poll and the lead rope as if pushing and pulling the horse’s head down.
As soon as I see the horse drop its nose towards the ground and give to the pressure, I release. In the beginning, the horse will want to brace against the pressure and throw its head up; when this happens, it’s important to keep the pressure on them until you see them respond correctly.
Sooner or later, I can ask the horse to stretch their nose all the way to the ground. I can also ask the horse to hold its head lower for longer periods of time. When the horse has this down, I throw a lead rope over the horse’s neck and apply pressure to the rope. The horse will usually respond correctly the first time by lowering their neck and standing still.
To desensitize the horse to pressure on his legs, I start by simply picking up the horse’s feet. If the horse allows me to do this well, then I know I can go on to the next step; however, if the horse fights me when I try to pick up its legs, then I know that I’ll simply be working on that until the horse can do it well.
When you pick up your horse’s feet, the horse is responding correctly to the pressure you are applying to get the hoof up. If a horse fights this, then they don’t have a respect for that pressure yet. It’s important to work on this skill before moving on. If you bypass this, you’re skipping a vital step to help your horse understand what is required of them.
Once I have the horse picking up their feet when I ask, then I’ll loop a soft lead rope around their lower leg. Some horses can be skittish even with this task, so make sure that your horse can respond well to the rope around their leg before proceeding.
With the looped lead rope, I’ll apply pressure to the rope by gently pulling. What I want is the horse to pick up its hoof and let the leg be pulled in the direction I’m applying the pressure. In the beginning, as soon as the horse responds by shifting its weight to pick up the leg or just picking the leg up a few inches off the ground, I’ll release the pressure and reward the horse.
Once I have the horse able to respond quickly and correctly to the pressure of the lead rope on all four legs, I’ll keep the lead rope looped around the lower leg and ask the horse to start walking. As the horse is walking, I’ll apply pressure to the rope. The horse should stop and give their leg to the pressure. If they fight you a bit, keep applying the pressure while asking the horse to stop. That way, they’ll correlate the pressure with stopping.
This is essentially hobble training for your horse. Your horse will learn to remain calm and still even when most horses would turn to their flight instinct.
Desensitize Your Horse to Foreign Objects
Why You Should Desensitize Your Horse to Foreign Objects
Horses can be scared of foreign objects or objects that they don’t see all the time. This can be anything from a wheelbarrow to a coop to things like a traffic cone and an umbrella. If your horse is spooking at this particular object, their focus is going to be on that thing rather than on you and what your commands. They could shy or bolt away, which would put you in danger.
Getting your horse used to seeing new things will make for a most trustworthy steed. If you plan on trail riding or riding through residential areas around pedestrians and traffic, this is a must. You can’t have your horse spooking at things and accidentally run in front of a car or trample someone.
I recently took my POA on his first residential ride; we rode down a busy road over to a park. While he did really well, there were a few new objects he had never seen before that really gave him the eebie-jeebies, like property signs and manhole covers.
While my POA quite easy to handle when it comes to these situations, some horses may have complete meltdowns over these things. Taking time to desensitize your horse to foreign objects will get them used to seeing new things. Sooner or later, they’ll realize that they don’t need to freak out over stuff they don’t recognize.
A Technique for Desensitizing Your Horse to Foreign Objects
With this technique, I always rely on groundwork to help me out. I take the horse over to the foreign object; the horse will probably start to snort and want to stop and stare at the object. If the horse is confident to go up to the object, I’ll let them; however, if the horse freezes and looks petrified, then I take another direction.
When you let your horse stop and stare at an object they’re afraid of, then they’re most likely going to get more worked up. The goal is to divert their attention away from the object and onto you. You do this by groundwork. (Once again, if you’re interested in learning some basic groundwork exercises, check out our article 5 Best Groundwork Exercises for Your Horse.)
If my horse is still having trouble focusing with basic groundwork commands, I’ll start using some more advanced groundwork techniques like asking for lateral movements. These movements require your horse to mentally engage in order for them to properly carry them out, so these exercises are great for getting your horse to pay attention.
As I work my horse around me, I gradually move our working area closer to the foreign object. At some point, I’ll start working the horse with the foreign object between me and the horse. This will require the horse to look past the object and focus on me. This, of course, can only be done if the object is small enough to fit in between us; this will not work if your horse is freaking out at a tractor.
Every time the horse can move honestly towards the object, they are rewarded. In the days to follow, I’ll continue to work the horse with the object just to make sure that they have accepted it and won’t regain their fear.
Desensitize Your Horse to Things Touching Them
Why You Should Desensitize Your Horse to Things Touching Them
Some horses can become very skittish about things touching them. They can work up fear of tall grass brushing their stomach or saddle straps and rider’s legs bumping their sides. This can be dangerous for the rider, as a horse’s reaction to these things would usually be to bolt in order to avoid getting touched; however, if they’re freaking out about a saddle strap, then they aren’t going to be able to escape simply by bolting. The horse will do anything it can to get the strap off of them, and they’ll usually do this in a blind tizzy.
I’ve seen horses crash through fences and try to climb through trailer windows to get away from things touching them. If your horse has this fear, it’s dangerous and needs to be fixed. The important thing to remember about dealing with these horses is to stay calm and consistent and don’t rush the horse.
A Technique for Desensitizing Your Horse to Things Touching Them
In my technique, my goal is to first get the horse to accept a plastic bag, then a tarp, then whatever the thing is that the horse freaks out about touching them, like a saddle strap. I find that once a horse learns to accept a tarp touching them, then it’ll be much easier to get them to accept other things.
If the horse is especially skittish, I simply start by holding a plastic bag and rubbing it all over the horse. If the horse tries to step away from the bag, I’m going to go with the movement and keep the bag on them until they stop trying to escape from it. Once they relax, then I’ll release the pressure.
Once the horse is good with me rubbing the plastic bag over their body, I’ll tie it to the end of a lunge whip. This presents something a little more intimidating. I repeat my steps with the bag now attached to the lunge whip. It’s important to rub the bag all over their body, including their legs, the under part of the stomach, and their rump, as these areas tend to be more sensitive. The lunge whip will allow you to do this at a safe distance.
Once the horse is good with the plastic bag, then I’ll move on to the tarp. Once again, it’s the same strategy. if the horse moves away, I’m going to go with the movement of the horse. With the tarp, you can encourage the horse to walk over it as well. The horse may act afraid, so I’ll involve the technique I used to desensitize the horse to foreign objects in order to accomplish this.
When the horse will stand still and allow me to throw the tarp over them and rub it on them, I will then throw the tarp over the leap rope closer to the horse’s head and ask the horse to go out on a circle around me. What I want to happen is for the tarp to blow back and “accidentally” touch the horse. This will help the horse get used to having random things touch its body.
In the beginning, horses will usually freak out when the tarp touches them while they’re moving. Remember to stay with the movement of the horse so they learn that the tarp isn’t going to hurt them, as soon as they relax, ask them to stop and praise them.
Sometimes, horses will have a meltdown when you do this; if this happens, take the tarp off of the lead rope and go back to the beginning, rubbing and throwing the tarp over their body. It may take a few back and forth repetitions before your horse starts to grasp that it’s the same object touching them.
Once the horse can walk calming even when the tarp is brushing them from the lead rope, it’s time to throw in whatever was causing the problem in the first place: in this instance, the saddle straps. I’ll the saddle on the horse and take the straps with my hand, flapping them up and down on the horse’s side.
If the horse moves away, I move with the horse and keep the motion going. When they’re fine with this, I’ll ask them to work in a circle around me at a trot. Once they can do this calmly while the saddle straps flap on their side, I’ll let them relax.
Desensitize Your Horse to Certain Noises
Why You Should Desensitize Your Horse to Certain Noises
If a horse is scared of loud or unusual noises, it can cause them to bolt or get spooked. Since hearing noises is a part of daily life, you’re bound to encounter a situation where a horse doesn’t like a specific noise. Desensitizing your horse to the noise that it tends to be afraid of will ensure that your horse will handle the situation correctly the next time it occurs.
I’ve had horses spook at the sounds of cars starting up, motorcycles passing by, plastic water bottles crackling, jackets unzipping, someone sneezing, electric clippers buzzing, guitars strumming, phones ringing, and just about any other random sound you can think of. Learning how to handle your horse when it comes to them being afraid of a certain sound will prepare you for the next time you come across something that may not sit well with your horse.
A Technique for Desensitizing Your Horse to Certain Noises
I’m going to use the example of a horse being scared of the hum of electric clippers to illustrate my technique. I am going to rely on groundwork to teach my horse that the sound of the clippers is nothing to be afraid of. I’ll turn a pair of electric clippers on and the horse will probably start to get anxious.
Instead of letting the horse look at the clippers and get nervous, I’m going to start working the horse around me in a circle at a trot. I’ll through in moving the shoulders and hind-end frequently in order to get the horse’s attention. Pretty soon, the horse will become more focused on me and what I’m asking them to do rather than the sound of the clippers.
When I notice the horse start to relax, I’ll turn the clippers off and reward them. Once the horse can go around calmly with the clippers on, I’ll then ask them to stand still while the sound is running. When a horse stands still, they’re not required to use their mind anymore, so they’re more likely to focus on the sound and get spooked again.
If the horse moves out of the standstill, I’ll ask them to work around me again until they calm down. Then, I’ll ask them to stand again. Every time the horse moves out of the standstill, I’ll ask them to work. Horses don’t like extra work, so pretty soon they’ll associate less work and staying calm with the sound.
Desensitize Your Horse to Tight Spaces
Why You Should Desensitize Your Horse to Tight Spaces
If your horse tends to be claustrophobic and lose their cool in tight spaces, now is the time to correct this problem. This fear that your horse has can mean that getting stuck in a tight spot with your horse is going to be an extremely dangerous situation. Horses can easily way 10x as much as a human, which means that they can cause you injury without ever realizing it.
If a horse is afraid of tight areas, they may shy away from narrow gateways, be difficult to load on a trailer, and cause a ruckus when kept in a stall. Being in a tight area can cause the horse to become stressed, which can cause problems in the horse both mentally and physically.
A Technique for Desensitizing Your Horse to Tight Spaces
With this, I will start with the very basics. The first thing I will do to desensitize a horse that is scared of tight spaces will be to take them out to an arena where there will be less distraction and I can have space to set up some obstacles.
Some of the obstacles I will set up will be ground poles running parallel to each other, creating a narrow path for the horse to walk through. I’ll do the same thing with two barrels, making a more intimidating path. I’ll also set up other obstacles unrelated to tight spaces just to offer a break from the mental exertion the horse may face.
I’ll lead the horse through the obstacle course I’ve made, praising them as they complete each obstacle. When I get to the obstacles that require the horse to walk through the narrow pathways, I’m not going to do anything differently; I’m going to ask the horse to go through the obstacle with the exact same confidence and assertiveness that I asked them to complete the unrelated obstacles.
By keeping your attitude the same, your horse will pick up that there is no reason to treat the narrow obstacles any different than the other ones. Some horses will complete these obstacles just fine while others may need a firm hand and a reassuring tone. There are a few horses that may jump away and refuse to go through the narrow pathway.
If your horse refuses to go through the narrow pathway that the ground poles or barrels form, you need to instantly start working your horse around you in a circle at a working trot. Work them this way until you notice a positive shift in their demeanor, then ask them to go through the tight spot again. If they take even one step into the tight area, release the pressure and praise them.
By doing this, you’re teaching the horse that a tight spot is a place of rest from hard work. Soon your horse will learn that not going into the tight area will mean more work, which most horses usually don’t want to do.
This same technique applies to any tight area your horse may be frightened of, including getting on a trailer. When using this method, you’re not just forcing your horse into a tight spot and then letting them deal with it on their own; instead, you’re teaching them to understand why they don’t have to be afraid or claustrophobic.
Desensitize Your Horse to Activity
Why You Should Desensitize Your Horse to Activity
When there is an increase in activity, most horses will start to put their guard up, looking for possible danger. When I use the word activity, I don’t just mean parades and horse shows; some horses can react to riding out with a bigger group of horses than usual or busy days at the stable.
When there is a lot of activity going on, there are usually a lot of people and other horses in close proximity to you and your horse. If your horse starts to panic, they run the risk of injuring and endangering the others who are around. Desensitizing your horse to the increased activity will ensure not just you and your horse’s safety, but other people’s as well.
A Technique for Desensitizing Your Horse to Activity
My first tip for getting your horse used to activity is to not avoid it. When there tends to be a lot of activity going on, our initial plan may be to take your horse and go somewhere quiet; believe me, I’ve been there. This, however, does nothing to teach your horse to accept activity and the chaos that it brings.
When there are days like this, I highly recommend putting your horse in the thick of the activity, letting them get accustomed to all the movement, noises, and unfamiliar people and things. If the horse starts getting worked up, the best thing to do is groundwork. This will get them concentrated on you as well as let them burn some energy.
How I usually train a horse to accept activity and chaos is to create a situation as such. I’ll recruit a few friends to go on the outside of the arena and make a ruckus. I have them run back and forth, make a lot of noise, and wave tarps and bags in the breeze. As they do this, I work the horse around me in a circle.
If the horse is particularly frightened, I move to the farther end of the arena and add some groundwork exercises that require them to think, like moving the hind-end and front-end. As the horse starts to relax, I’ll gradually drift my circle back closer to the chaos, continuing to ask my horse to pay attention and move their feet.
With this particular exercise, I allow the horse to choose when they want to slow their gait or speed. As the horse becomes more relaxed and used to the activity, they’ll calm down and drop their tempo down to a walk; I welcome this, as it shows that the horse knows that it doesn’t have to be afraid of the chaos.
However, if the horse will drop their gait as soon as they get past the chaotic area of the arena and then pick it up as soon as they come back to it, then I will keep the horse working. This is the horse learning to simply run past the scary area rather than accept it and stay calm. Only once the horse chooses to slow down at the challenging part will I let the horse relax.
Why You Should Bombproof Your Horse
There are a number of reasons why you should bombproof and desensitize your horse; they are as follows:
- Makes the horse safer to be around
- Makes the horse easier to handle
- Helps teach the horse to trust you
- Is a great way to introduce new things to your horse
- Will take the “flight” out of the horse
- Can potentially decrease the horse’s chance of hurting itself in dangerous situations
- Can give you greater confidence when handling your horse
Desensitizing training can take a nervous and skittish horse and turn it into a trustworthy steed for beginners. Having a bombproof horse will automatically catch a buyer’s eyes if you ever go to sell the particular horse you’re working with. Many people want a bombproof horse but they don’t know what to do to get the horse to be that way.
In this article, I’ll cover a number of instances where you can take advantage of desensitizing training. It’s important to remember that the methods I discuss are unique to my training technique; it may work for some people and it may not. The great thing about the horse world is that there are a number of proven ways to train a horse properly.
Recognize What Things Your Horse is Afraid Of
Horses are flight animals, meaning that they are constantly watching for things that could be a danger to them. Their first instinct is to flee from anything that may seem out of place. All horses have their own quirks, as some will find things scarier than others. If you want a list of things that a horse could be afraid of, the list would be infinite.
Here is my personal list of things that I’ve found my horses to be afraid of; some are more normal for a horse to spook at while others are just a bit ridiculous:
- foreign objects
- plastic bags
- getting in a horse trailer
- electric clippers
- narrow gateways
- cars driving by
- different animals
- small children
- bright colors
- winter blankets
- different kind of saddle than they’re used too
- plastic bottles crackling
- tall grass blowing in the wind
- A rider leaning off of the side of the horse
- A rider unzipping their jacket while on the horse
- A rider sneezing while on the horse
The list goes on and on. Horses can literally be scared of anything you can think of. My POA pony is scared of butterflies…yes, butterflies. Whenever one dances out in front of him, he jumps out of the way. I still haven’t figured out how to desensitize him from this fear other than taking him to a butterfly house.
If you notice your horse being skittish about something particular, that’s when you know that you have to do something about it. If you start avoiding certain areas or certain objects with your horse, your horse is actually going to get more scared. Repeatedly avoiding something or giving a wide birth to something will teach them that that area or object is dangerous.
My POA pony is a naturally more cautious and jumpy horse; because of this, I try to set aside a day regularly where I’ll solely work on desensitizing training with him. I notice that if I regularly work with him, he does much better about being brave. If something happens where I’m not able to regularly schedule that desensitizing day, I’ll start to notice that he’ll become jumpier as the weeks go on. Take time to make a note of what really freaks your horse out, then work desensitizing time in these areas into your schedule.
What to Know Before You Start Desensitizing
Make Sure Your Horse Respects Your Personal Space
When a horse is frightened, it may lose all sense of boundaries when it comes to your personal space. I can attest to this; I’ve had horses spook and knock me down. Not only is it frustrating but it’s also extremely dangerous. Before you start desensitizing your horse to “scary” things, it’s important to make sure your horse understands your personal space.
Whenever I do desensitize training, I always start with simple groundwork. I do this to remind my horse that my personal space is off-limits. With bomb-proofing, horses will tend to shy away, kick out, and run forward. If you can manage to keep them aware of your space while this is happening, you’ll be much safer.
If a horse is having to focus on where you are in relation to them, they’re going to think less about what’s scaring them. This means that the horse is going to be more focused on you than on the object. This is a good thing; It’s a great way to make desensitizing easier! You can ask your horse to do simple groundwork tasks and move their feet to keep them focused. Sooner or later, they won’t even notice the scary object.
If you’re not quite sure on how to get your horse to respect your personal space, check out our article 5 Best Groundwork Exercises for Your Horse. Here, you’ll learn basic groundwork skills to help teach your horse respect.
Desensitizing Will Help Build Your Bond With Your Horse
Once your horse learns to pay attention to you rather than scary objects or situations, you’ll notice that the bond between the two of you will start to grow. This is because the horse has learned that you’re the comfort in the storm so to speak. They’ve realized that as long as you’re around, they don’t have to be afraid of anything.
You’ll notice that desensitizing training will make your horse better at responding to your cues as well as give them more confidence. The horse has accepted you as the leader; they will willingly do as you ask, even in a situation where they would usually be scared.
Go With The Flow
When I say go with the flow, I mean go with the flow of your horse’s movement. If a horse is apprehensive about something, they may step away. Instead of releasing the pressure when they step away, you should keep the pressure on them until they stop moving away from the object. This essentially going with the flow of the horse’s movements.
For example, let’s say your horse is scared of a tarp. You hold the tarp to the horse’s shoulder, and the horse starts to moves away from it. What you should do is move with the motion of the horse to keep the tarp by the shoulder they’re stepping away with rather than dropping the tarp as soon as they step away.
If you drop the tarp as soon as the horse steps away, you’re teaching the horse to avoid the object. By keeping the pressure on the horse and the tarp next to the shoulder, the horse is learning that they can’t avoid the object. As soon as you see the slightest positive response from the horse, like the horse stopping or slowing down, you can release the pressure and take the tarp away from the shoulder.
Don’t Rush Your Horse
It’s vitally important to remember that you should never rush your horse when it comes to desensitizing. If you rush your horse, you can make their fear of something ten times worse. It’s important to start with baby steps and work your way up to major leaps.
When I was desensitizing my pony to a tarp, I started with a plastic bag tied to the end of a whip. Once he was fine with that, then I started working with the tarp. When I could throw the tarp over him and rub it all over his body with his standing still, then I mounted up and started doing that in the saddle.
If your horse is very flighty with one thing particularly, don’t try to get to the end-goal in one training session. Set small goals you want your horse to accomplish every time you work with them and the object.
I had a horse once who was terrified of straight-load trailers. I remember watching my trainer work with her. She was so terrified that she was sweating from head to toe and she wouldn’t get anywhere near the trailer. He worked with her for two hours; once she could set one front hoof on the trailer, he rewarded her and called it quits for the day.
Every day the trainer worked with her, he set a small goal to meet. Pretty soon, she could load right up onto the straight-load trailer. It was because of the trainer’s persistence, patience, and most of all, understanding, that the horse was able to get on the trailer. Be understanding of your horse and take things as slowly as you need to.
Never Mind Going Back to the Basics
If you are completely at a loss about getting your horse passed a certain fear, never be afraid to go back to the basics. Chances are, there was something back there that you missed. Try and think how much you can simplify it down even more for the horse. Like with my POA pony; before I went full out and threw a tarp over him, I first worked with a plastic bag tied to a lunge whip. This is a smaller and less-frightening object.
Sometimes, your horse will simply lose focus during a desensitizing session. In this instance, stop desensitizing altogether and go back to groundwork. Once your horse has resumed their focus, then pick up your desensitizing again.
Consistency Is Key
Consistency is key when it comes to training your horse to be less of a flight animal. Flight is their natural instinct and it’s bound to kick in at some point. By staying consistent with your training and regularly introducing them to new things, your horse will become less of a flight animal and more of a pleasure-to-ride animal.
Like I mentioned above, if I don’t consistently include desensitizing sessions into my training schedule, then my horse will start to get wonky all over again. Being consistent with your training and with your approach will help to put the horse at ease when it comes to dealing with new things.
Staying calm is one of the biggest things to remember when desensitizing your horse. Horses pick up and mirror your emotions. If a horse senses that you’re calm, then they will learn that they have nothing to worry about when it comes to desensitizing. By remaining calm, you’re demonstrating to your horse that there is nothing to worry about.
It can be easy to create a frustrating atmosphere if your horse isn’t improving as much as you expect them to. I’ve heard this saying about dealing with horses; “If you act like you have 15 minutes, it’ll take you all day; if you act like you have all day, then it’ll take you 15 minutes.” Don’t rush your horse and don’t get frustrated if you’re not seeing an instant improvement.
Staying calm means keeping a level head even when you’ve been working a long time on something and have seen little improvement. Staying calm means being an optimist and rewarding the small steps. Pretty soon, your horse will catch on to your attitude and start to relax.
Bombproofing will make your horse a safe and trustworthy ride, one you don’t have to worry about throwing beginners or inexperienced riders on. It can also help the sale value of your horse if you ever decide to sell them, as most buyers are looking specifically for the term “bombproof.”
A majority of the desensitizing training is simply to get your horse to pay attention and focus on you. By doing this, you are building a stronger bond with your horse as they look to you as their leader. If you’d like to know more about this, check out our article How to Get Your Horse to Pay Attention to You.