A Horse’s Past and Our Relationship Now

I received this interesting question the other day, “Does the horse or the one who ‘made ‘the horse get credit for the relationship we’re able to have with our horse?”

It’s an interesting one because if you ask a lot of people that same question, you will get as many answers as people you ask!

Today’s video is my take on it. I’ll be interested to hear what you think in the comments.


Hi, It’s Barb, and my guy Nic.

I received a question the other day from the website, and I want to answer that question here.

It’s an interesting one because if you ask a lot of people the same question, you will get as many answers as people you ask!

Here’s the question, “Does the horse or the one who ‘made ‘the horse get credit for the relationship we’re able to have with our horse?”

Here’s my take on that.

First, Nic was born with a particular temperament or personality. So was I.

We each have our own temperament – and – our own way of learning and processing information. And then we both have the experiences in our lives up to this moment in time.

When I first got Nic, he came to me with his experiences and his impressions of relationships with people. I came with my experiences, temperament, relationships with horses, and how I interacted with them. Whenever we come together, we just met wherever we were at that time.

We all do that when we come together with a horse. But after that, I believe the sky is the limit about the kind of relationship we can build with our horses.

When I think of someone in the past “making a horse” (that’s not my favorite choice of words although that’s no criticism for the person who wrote the question, because it’s a common term – I think it refers to training) I believe that was their status at that time of training in their life. But horses, just like us, are not static – and they love relationships. In the wild, they seek out their friends. They crave comfort and closeness with other horses.

I believe when a horse feels like they can trust us as a human, their heart opens wide and they’re willing.

It’s up to the person to be the leader in a relationship with a horse. By leader I mean we’re the one who catches our horses or determines what will happen next. For example, I’m the one who decided Nic was going to be in the video today. He didn’t wake up this morning and go, “Hey Barb, I would like to be in the video!” I’m the one that caught him, and I had the plans.

As humans, we remain in the role of the leader of the relationship from moment to moment when we interact with a horse. It’s up to us to be clear about what we want. We need to set boundaries, communicate our desires clearly, release our cues when they respond correctly, and be consistent. That’s what develops trust because that’s when a horse gets comfortable.

Meet your horse where you are and where they are. We can all keep learning to communicate with our horses and understand them more. We, as people, can improve our communication abilities – and hopefully have fun – and cultivate a trusting and comfortable environment.

I hope that answers the question.

Have a great week and leave a comment about what you think about my answer.

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8 Comments on A Horse’s Past and Our Relationship Now

  1. Carol Craig on Sun, 22nd Aug 2021 1:42 pm
  2. Wonderful comments and something i have asked myself many times, I even asked my Horse the other day who I should thank for this sweet personality of his! . I am grateful for those who laid the foundation of training and gentleness with my 25 year old Hanoverian gelding. I love my relationship with him and feel his gentle nature in his soft eyes! I am well aware though of my role in continuing to be a leader as he is so very smart! There is no end to our learnings together!

  3. Denise Clemens on Sun, 22nd Aug 2021 2:01 pm
  4. What a great question. I have acquired a new 6 yr old gelding that was such an unexpected surprise. We are learning so much about each other. I hope that he finds me worthy of his love & trust. I am looking forward to him teaching me new lessons & I am enjoying being able to share my trust & love with him. Together, I know we will have a remarkable relationship like none other … it really is exciting to share their space with them 💜

  5. Geralyn on Sun, 22nd Aug 2021 3:47 pm
  6. This is a question I have pondered every time I interact with a horse. Not just what are you as in discipline but who are you.Thanks for the explanation, this has answered several questions about horses for me.

  7. Cindy Newell on Sun, 22nd Aug 2021 4:42 pm
  8. What a great question AND a great answer! Here’s what I noticed: You and Nic have a great relationship. He looks comfortable with you and I’m sure he trusts you to the moon and back!

  9. Mary D on Sun, 22nd Aug 2021 4:55 pm
  10. Loved this! i am a firm believer in creating a bond with my horse.I have raised and trained 25 foals over my lifetime (I’m 70), and of course I imprinted every foal. When I purchased my show mare in 2012 when she was 4, I immediately started creating that special bond that I think is critical in a horse-human relationship. There are times when I think she understands English! For sure she knows when I need her comforting stillness, her mane to cry in. There is nothing more special

  11. robyn martin on Mon, 23rd Aug 2021 12:21 am
  12. great question and answer, and at the end, Nic was standing so comfortably beside you (prob was the whole time but it really showed up at the end.) Thank you so much for sharing.

  13. Jamie on Mon, 23rd Aug 2021 6:32 am
  14. I started over with my 21 year old hyper vigilant warmblood. I love your comments about meeting each other where you are. We have taken one small step at a time. I write down the Just For Today each morning & reread them throughout the day. You have given me the mental and emotional courage to develop our relationship; and get back on his back. We are doing the Well Connected workshop now. We are loving the connection. Just wanted to let you know how much you are helping us every day! Thanks!!!!!!

  15. Gayle Kiser on Mon, 23rd Aug 2021 8:56 am
  16. Great question and great answer. Horses are our treasured companions and our responsibility. Love “the sky is the limit”in terms of our relationship. Kindness and trust opens all manner of possibilities to grow phenomenal connection as we understand and grow together. Thanks for Qand A reminding us what a gift and opportunity horses offer, Barb.

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