Domestication is when a wild animal is taken into captivity and tamed. In the US, there are still wild horses roaming free in some areas, which means domestication can still happen to this day. Domestication helps to increase the gene pool in animals, and it can assist in the creation of new breeds. For a look into horse domestication, read on to find out the steps that go into it.
Show the horse you are friendly.
Wild horses may be fierce and dangerous under bad circumstances, but they are more afraid of humans than humans are of them. Wild horses have a propensity to run away from humans at the slightest hint of something unusual, so it’s the human’s job to show that they are friendly. Remain in a non-threatening pose, move slowly, and let the horse come to you. You can hold out your hand so it can keep a safe distance while observing you. Don’t be discouraged if they run away; chances are, they will run several times before becoming comfortable enough to approach you.
Touch, talk, and feed it.
If the horse approaches you, you can slowly and gently touch it in a non-threatening way. Show it that you are respectful of its boundaries, and try to avoid sensitive areas. You can also talk to it in a low, calm voice. Over time, you should be able to do both for longer periods of time. Feeding a horse can also gain its trust, but to be safe, you should start by feeding it from a bucket. Some horses do not know how to eat calmly, and you want to keep your hands safe. After the horse has become much more calm and relaxed around you, you might be able to feed it from your hand. However, do not do so until you are certain that you have a trusting relationship built up.
Introduce it to restraint.
Once the horse is comfortable around you, you may be able to put a halter on it. Introduce a halter first by keeping it near you, but not on them. Then, you can put it on them for a short time. This will allow it to become more used to restraints, and after some time, you can begin to lead it around on-foot. This is one of the hardest steps to complete, as the horse has likely never felt something similar, so you should be extremely cautious at this point. Limiting halter time to just a few minutes at first will help.
Saddle it up and ride.
Even harder than using a halter is teaching your horse to be ridden. Get it accustomed to feeling a saddle on it, without you sitting on it. Then, carefully try riding it for a short time. Be aware that it will likely be a tough ride, as the horse may buck a lot as it tries to get comfortable. Do not plan on riding for very long at first. Instead, stick with a few minutes and gradually increase the time. Make sure to reward your horse with a treat afterward. Soon enough, your horse will be riding just as well as any captive-bred horse.
Wild horses still roam free today, and some people look forward to domesticating them. If you plan to do so, follow the above tips to make sure you build a great relationship with your horse.