Many owners don't realize horses existed for thousands of years as prey. For instance, horses have eyes on both sides of their head rather than in front (like humans). That way they can constantly be searching for danger. In order to help with their survival, horses have developed a very keen memory associated with their experiences. According to research, horses will remember a single experience for around 10 years (talk about holding a grudge!).
These memories combine to form the relationships your horse has with the world around her. Some experiences can be positive such as feeding or grooming your horse. Others can be negative, such as getting a vaccine shot from a vet. Too many negative experiences can lead to an overall strained relationship where your horse may associate you with distrust or fear. On the other hand, feed your horse forage she likes and she'll be thinking positively about you for a long time. Wouldn't it be great if everyone remembered a good meal for 10 years?
Strengthening your relationship with your horse comes down to thinking about how experiences will affect her beforehand. Obviously you can't always have positive experiences. The trick is to balance the negative ones with the positive so your horse's overall bond with you stays one of trust and respect.
The quickest way to a horse's heart is through its stomach. And nothing makes a horse's stomach happier than eating the right forage. Click the button below to find out which type of forage your horse should be eating!