In any partnership there are fundamental components that must be present and solid. This is true with human/human partnerships and in interspecies relationships.
In a relation ship with horses the four listed components are critical. In my mind they follow in order TRUST, followed by BELIEF, then comes CONFIDENCE and finally RESPECT.
When you first approach a horse you need to get him/her to trust you just to approach him/her. There are a number of methods you can use to do this. The clinician programs go into detail about the methods they advocate. Take a look at them, try them and you and your horse will decide what is best for you. Once established trust must be maintained and sustained to grow and reinforce it.
The next step is to build belief in both yourself and in the horse that your trust is solid. The horses needs to believe that you are not going to hurt them and you are not going to trap them. The horses dignity is important and if you are going to be accepted as a partner you must maintain his/her dignity while at the same time demonstrating that you have dignity and respect for yourself. In this relationship you need the horse to see you as a leader who he can believe in. A leader isn`t necessarily an autocratic boss. Horses are herd animals, and, in a herd there is a pecking order. You need to be one step up from your horse for safety reasons as a minimum.
As your partnership strengthens on the pillars of trust and belief the confidence the horse has in you will also build. As the horse gets more confident, so do you. It is a symbiotic relationship, man with horse, building a strong connection, reinforcing each others energy. This confidence will keep building throughout your partnership as long as trust and belief are maintained.
The final component is respect. This must be a mutual respect. The horse needs to accept that you are above him in the herd order and you need to respect that he will continue to act like a horse. Horses almost never bite, strike, kick or charge as a defence or offence. It is almost always an act of play. It can never the less be dangerous. If your horse feels trapped and/or threatened he will defend himself. His first defence is flight. If he feels trapped however, he will use the other methods to defend himself. He is just being a horse. Always remember that and respect it. You are the one higher in the herd. It is your responsibility to see his fear and emotions. It is you who must act before he reacts. It is you who must respond to remove the fear and shape his response.
There is no place for anger and punishment, ever.