Effective communication between both horse and handler is the first step to developing a safe and harmonious relationship. Proper training results in effective communication. Key to developing effective lines of communication is an understanding of how a horse thinks and reasons. Realizing how these patterns shape communication is paramount in the development of an effective connection.
As with all herd animals, horses will look to the leader for cues and clues on the appropriate behavior in any given situation. An understanding of this allows handlers to move into a leadership position gaining respect and authority.
As an animal of prey, horses have an inborn fight or flight instinct when threatened. Typically the first response is to flee. Through training, a horse can be taught to rely upon its human leader to determine the appropriate response to new situations and stimuli.
The responsibility is upon the handler to learn and understand how these dynamics present themselves and can be used productively in the horse-handler relationship. This understanding carries through into all varieties and aspects of training.
Training the horse is a progressive practice, moving through stages only when both the horse and handler are able to comfortably and confidently accomplish given tasks.