What horses do almost all the time in their natural lives, and a great part of what we want to do with them, is move together in harmony. They are more lost in the artificial enviroments we create for them than we suppose, and seek the sychronous flow of the herd. Representing that herd is not difficult for a person who understands this basic need, remembering that synchrony is invited, not imposed.
This Horse is trying to sycrhrony with me
Impediments to harmonious flow are: negative thoughts like doubts about oneself (difficult at first!); attitudes of dominance; fear or tension on either side.
Many horses have never been treated in this manner, finding no harmony with people but learning to avoid unpleasantness as far as possible. A beginning is, when leading in hand, to invite the horse to step forward instead of applying pressure; to fall into step with him; and to stop cleanly and abruptly, again without using pressure unless necessary. Another way is to leave the horse loose in a corral and become a member of his herd by imitating what he does: synchronizing with him. After a while he falls in with you when you make a change.
Riding, too, is greatly a matter of synchrony. The horse feels what the rider´s body is doing and adjusts the corresponding part of his body to harmonize.
Again this depends on the rider´s ability to move in perfect, tension-free harmony with the horse’s movement before expecting the horse to want to maintain synchrony.
The aids are invitations to synchrony. The rider moves a hand outwards; so does the horse. The rider turns his shoulders; so does the horse. To ask the horse to move his right hind foot to the left, the rider does the same. The timing of the aids is paramount: if the horse has his weight on a foot he cannot displace it in synchrony with the rider’s movement of hand or leg, so ignores the invitation. The rider must be able to feel the horse´s body as if it were his or her own and move accordingly.
Even an untrained horse responds to this use of the aids, which, being invitations rather than orders, are always given softly, briefly but clearly. Tension or forceful pressure, of course, makes the horse tense too.