Key #1 is Attitude.
Pat Parelli often talks about doing things for the horse and with the horse rather than to the horse. To implement this key one needs to start with Attitude.
Some people have the kind of attitude that starts with, “You WILL do this.” And ends with, “I WILL win!” Putting the human and their needs over those of the horse. They have the idea that if they don’t “win” every session with the horse, then the horse thinks he has won. These people will generally use force as a technique to get what they want from the horse. Regardless of how that looks.
Some people have the kind of attitude that is all about love, kisses, hugs, cookies and soft cuddly horse time. These people tend to get their feelings hurt by their horses. Though horses do enjoy brushing, petting, scratches and mutual grooming with other horses they do not understand a human that has no boundaries and doesn’t expect any from their horse. This is an ineffectual leader for the horse. Inevitably the horse will either reject the human all together or more likely hurt the human. If the human is not going to be the leader then SOMEONE has to!
There is a happy medium. Horses look for the calm, quiet leader in their herd situations. They do not follow the horse that bullies, kicking, biting and chasing the other horses. That horse generally gets pushed to the edge of the group to fight it out with himself. The leader is the quiet horse who finds the best grazing spots, leads the group to water, is aware of dangers and takes the herd away from the scary spots safely. This horse causes the others to feel safe and secure.
A horse is looking for that leader all the time. To prove to your horse you can be a good leader it’s important you don’t lose respect by using force and fear tactics. When a horse respects you there is no fear in it. Respect has a willing, cooperative attitude about it… from both the horse and the human.