Yeah' I think it's part of developing the relationship. Once it's there, then you have their trust, and you can ask the world of them (the only problem I have is asking them so they understand but I'm working on it).
Then there's the premise that we must learn horse language and all will be hunky dory.
Problem with that is that we want to ask them things they have no symbol for in "horse."
The obvious answer?
Teach them a language.
One based on our wants.
Something AND members do routinely.
However, others do this as well, but grimly.
A language made up of what to the horse are threats and confusion and not based on horse perceptions of their universe.
The perfect language between us is highly personal. I might not be able to create the symbolic language for play with one horse, but can with another. Yet I might be able to create such a language for the greedy horse, but not the one content to ignore food.
If there is a single characteristic of horse (and of humans) that might provide a universal shared symbol, one with the same meaning in human and horse, it would be, I think, curiosity.
With it even the horse that has developed reactive violence, such as kicking, biting, etc. can be reached.
I am always teasing horses. Not mean teasing, but playful teasing. A month ago Altea still would not stand for her lips, tip of her nose, and her mouth to be handled. She still resists a bit but it's almost playfully. She pulls away, but not completely away. She backs up, but only a step then stops to be "annoyed."
In fact, I think the little sneak likes it. Likes to be pestered .
She shows the same signs that humans do when they have been isolated with little human contact and suddenly have one or more humans in closer contact. A dancing away, then advancing toward, routine.
These are the tools for communication. This play. This appeal to curiosity.
Horses that we are working with that have not bonded to us yet should be compassionately and lovingly "tolled."
Yes, it comes from tolling of a bell. What do the people do when the church bell "tolls?"
Amerinds used to draw Antelope in close enough to bring down for food and other use, by laying down on the plain, and waving a small skin, usually light colored, overhead on stick. The antelope could NOT resist the lure of this odd thing in their environment and would work their way in.
Currently there is a dog, a retriever, bred to 'toll' ducks. Nova Scotia is the location they are from as I recall.
It's all about appeals to curiosity.
I toll horses with two fingers. I simply wiggle them. Sooner or later, especially if I click them in, they will come and smell and touch my hand. In fact, I consider clicker training a subset of tolling.
I toll horses to follow me in the pasture, to catch them up.
I don't follow them, I pass them so they, out of curiosity about where I am going, and instinctual response to follow not only other horses, but even other animals that might move past them (chase the tiger, anyone?). It's just another form of tolling in.
Making the horse curious is what leads, eventually, to making the horse a safer companion. It feels safer, and you feel safer because it does.
When Dakota touched the rotten deerhide for the first time, it was because he'd been "tolled," into touching whatever he was afraid of or anxious about.
Now he knew they, the feared things, of course were not food, but treats became associated with them almost from the first time he heard the click and got the treat.
And now why wouldn't that be a curious thing in the horse's phenomenological world?
"If I touch EVERYTHING that scares me will I get food?" You could hear Dakota's gears grinding.
And for a long time he was going round touching everything in sight that had the least bit of "anxiety" charge on it. "Scares me, touch it, eat treat." "Now isn't THIS a weird thing my human is doing?"
Curiosity can do what pressure cannot.