Give, Offer, Accept, Receive
Four simple words that mean so much with horses and people. We don`t think about them much. We should. Understanding what they mean will give a measure of the strength of the partnership you have with your horse.
In the natural horsemanship world we teach horses to give to pressure in an appropriate manner. The pressure can be applied in different ways. When the horse responds to pressure in the appropriate way we accept the result by releasing the pressure. As the strength of the partnership increases the amount of the required pressure decreases, the response is quicker and more precise and so our acceptance must be clear and timely. This is the core of the development of timing and feel.
As the partnership continues to strengthen the horse will begin to offer responses to you. For example when you approach the paddock the horse may knicker and come to the gate to meet you. This is an offer to be with you. You receive the offering when you enter the paddock and allow the horse to touch you. When you are with your horse he may go and touch something that you have been playing with. You receive that gift and reward the horse. The reward can be anything you and your horse agree on.
The next step in partnership growth is when the horse comes to you and gives you a cue that he wants something. I am referring to non food items. The most frequent request is for a scratch or a rub. You should accept the cue and honour the request. They may even go and get a halter and bring it to you. The message is pretty clear. You have a partner.