Q: "My trainer says that my horse is pushy and I should get rid of him because he’s dangerous. He’s a really nice gelding and I like him a lot. What do you think I should do?"
Bill: "It’s real natural for the horse to feel like you’re in his way when you actually are in his way. So many people think the horse is wrong for feeling this way. He may want to just stand there with his head and neck in a normal position but he can’t, because a person’s crowding in real close on him there. There’s so many people who do this, and they don’t know that they’re building a really bad message into that horse’s way of operating. It’s bound to create trouble spots for him in the future.
What’s too bad is that it’d be so easy for people to just leave this part out of what they do with a horse, and maybe they will when they find out about this. Even a lot of those people who have themselves listed as trainers aren’t onto it. They need to understand that it’s just respect [P. 248-249] for the horse, through feel — and being around him this respectful way — that teaches him to respect you. He learns to understand your feel, and that includes the feel of your space, of course. Or it doesn’t, if you’re the type of person who encourages a horse to crowd into you by the way you crowd into him. See, so many “problems” with horses just wouldn’t show up if more people only understood this one little particle about feel. It’s tied to respect that can go both ways.
If a horse hasn’t been taught to feel of a person, why then he’d be lacking in respect for people. So if he’s this way, he might decide to jump or buck and play around and kick just because he feels like doing it. When he’s got the idea to be doing some of these things, he wouldn’t have any idea that it’s a wrong thing to do when a person’s right there, if he hasn’t been taught to feel of that person.
It’s not the horse’s job to know about this unless he’s been taught, through feel [318-321], about respect. No, he wouldn’t have any way of knowing you thought he oughtn’t be doing those things, because he is a horse. It seems strange, maybe, but there’s some people who need to be reminded that this is so. Where it concerns horses, there’s a real fine line between doing not enough and doing too much. It’s all in how it’s applied. And that’s all in the feel and timing  of what you do."
From: "True Horsemanship Through Feel” By Bill Dorrance with Leslie Desmond
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