Re: Ways to bond with your horse - any ideas?
Water, water, water.
Horses naturally love water, be it for drinking (obviously), cooling off and playing in, it brings out their inquisitive side and is actually an important social and rest time for a horse.
Horses like to spend time around a watering hole in company, usually all go to drink at the same time at certain times of the day, you may notice this when you observe them in the field.
So you have a few options, if you have an area of water like a large water logged part of your field, large puddles (stick ya wellies on) a near by lake, pond (with save shallow footing that is) you could take him for an explore in that, so he can snort and paw about in that with you, or you could empty and clean his field trough, you should find he will come over an explore what you are doing, dipping his nose in, swishing the water about and no doubt try play with the jugs/buckets and interfere with what you are doing as well as having a drink just for the sake of it, if you gave gentle splash he will probably join in but its all bonding social time.
You can also offer him a little water in a bucket when you finish riding but stand and hold it up for him, you may find he will stick his head in and give it a good swish about, dipping his nose right under, they like the cool sensation around the lips proving its cool not freezing cold that is.
Get the hose pipe out, give him a gentle rinse after you have worked him, always work your way up, so start with the hooves, legs then girth area, chest, neck and he will really appreciate it on a mild day if he's sweaty or if you just do his legs on a daily basis, besides it cools the tendons too and provides moisture into the hooves if your fields have had a long dry spell, so good around.