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!

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