The horse’s reactions as I approach him or her provide me with precious information about the way I will ride him or her. Knowing whether patting calms him, or on the contrary causes mistrusting reactions, already informs me about how he will react to messages sent by my aids.
Personally, I start by creating a communications code that will be established between the horse and me, before I ride him. Equally, watching his behavior when I speak, allows me to know in advance if my voice will be an effective aid or not. The number one objective is to establish trust, hence an interest in listening as much as possible and having an overall view: being both actor and spectator. I touch,I pat, I speak... and I watch the reactions. The more positive the experience, the more the horse’s reactions will be favorable for establishing good communications with the rider and human beings in general. In the wild, animals first attack their prey’s sensitive points: the flanks or the head. This is why with horses it is preferable to approach them between these two parts of the body: at shoulder level and preferably on the left side.