DIRECT & SUPPORT: These two things go together. If you’re using these words, you’d be talking about either your arms, and the meaning you are building into your horse’s understanding about those reins, or your legs, and your horse’s understanding of their feel on his body. You’d get your whole body involved in feeling of the horse, because when he gets to feeling of you, it’s your whole body he needs to rely on so he understands what you need him to do. The actual meanings of these words are what the horse needs you to understand to maneuver him through feel, which you will learn about through some experimenting.
You’d want to be consistent in the way you present yourself to him, and you’ll put plenty of variation in there to stay away from patterns. And your lessons, they don’t need to be too long.
The horse in this picture is feeling of the person because there is enough direction (from the right arm) and support (from the left arm) for him to understand what’s expected. When the horse changes direction, the fella’d switch the rope in his hands and then the function of those arms would be the reverse of what they had been. The arm that was doing the directing would then be supporting the horse, and the arm that was in the supporting position will take over the job of directing the horse back to the left. It’s the same idea when you’re riding and need to change directions, only then you are holding onto the reins.
If you are riding along with two hands on the reins and then make a turn to the right, your right arm would be directing your horse to turn in that direction. The motions of your left arm and leg are there to support the action of the right arm, as it directs the horse on a new line of travel. Depending on what sort of turn to the right you were making, your right leg would be positioned to invite the shoulders or the whole body to move towards the right. It can also be used to help the hindquarters move to the left, if the situation calls for that. It’s really no different when you’re working on the ground. Your intent determines the function each arm will have at any given moment. If they are in good positions and your timing is clear, then the horse will understand what you want and he will do it.