It is so very important if you want to keep the trust bond and relationship with your horse to never push your horse through the threshold of fear. This is not to say that you shouldn't move closer to it and stay longer as each attempt brings relaxation to your horse.
If your horse can not perform, learn or complete anything without relaxation then you can guarantee that this "make" instead of "ask", will show up in other ways or in the same area somewhere else.
This kind of thinking becomes so important when teaching our horses about obstacles. It doesn’t matter if it is a man made obstacle or a natural one. If we take our time and think about it from our horse’s point of view, we will reap the benefits of it down the road of training.
Having an obstacle playground here at Dream Feather students and strangers "make" their way around the obstacles. Some never asking but just wanting to get the horse to "do it".
No matter how kind you are or how gentle you think you are being with your horse, if you are holding the line closer than 4-5 feet from the halter you are actually “making” your horse go over (under or through). You are not asking. the result is that your horse is not thinking he is just being obedient and moving away from the pressure produced by the halter.
Many times with this scenario, I have seen horses go over something and then get scared and jump off, sometimes on top of the human. This is not great and will certainly take you back a long way to gaining trust and confidence in both you and the obstacle.
Blind trust is just that blind.. and it doesn’t help your horse develop boldness in any situation.
Watch how this student allows her horse to figure out the puzzle. As her human ‘asks”, the horse has the choice of going around it, going through it, or standing there. There is lots of time after the horse has had the chance to first see it, touch it, smell it, hear it and even taste it to be more clear by giving the horse guidelines to follow.
Two of my favourites are “Stay in Your Lane” (straightness) and “Watch Your Speed” (don’t hurry or mosey). But your horse can't learn what that means either unless you have put down a solid foundation built on trust and time.
Have fun and don't be in a hurry or you will miss the magic that your horse can show you through confident conversation.