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Digital Subscriptions > Horse Illustrated > February 2019 > AN UnbreakableBOND

AN UnbreakableBOND

Develop a deeper connection with your horse.

One commonality among horse people of all kinds is the desire we all have to develop a good relationship or bond with our horse. Not only does a good horse-human relationship improve our equine interactions, it can also be beneficial for the horse. “Research suggests that a strong human-animal bond benefits the person and might also benefit the horse, by improving both well-being and performance,” says horse behaviorist and research professor Robin Foster, Ph.D., CAAB, CHBC, who consults on horse behavior in Washington state. But what does it actually mean to bond with a horse?

| Partnership in Perspective |

Sue McDonnell, M.S., Ph.D., CAAB, is an adjunct professor of Reproductive Behavior at the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center and founding head of the university’s Equine Behavior Program. She shares the opinion that horses don’t develop a feeling of love for people like humans do. Instead, the horse likely views the relationship based on his comfort and trust levels. Understanding how to develop a better relationship with our horses takes looking at horse-human interactions from an animal behavior perspective. Horses bond with other horses in strong pair bonds.

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