When working with a horse, the rider must be the leader in the relationship and earn the horse’s respect. Compared to a rider, horses are stronger, faster and heavier with much larger teeth. Instinctively they have a flight response and a need for hierarchy. While love and affection have their place, the underlying core of the relationship must appreciate these traits for a safe and harmonious relationship. Earning respect and being a leader does not mean breaking a horse’s spirit or being abusive. A rider must be fair, confident, focused, and strong. Boundaries of acceptable behavior must be defined and re-enforced every time they are tested. If there is a question in the horse’s mind, he must trust in the rider enough to look to the rider for guidance. Guidance, not a cookie!