The hot marketing term for many clinicians today is "relationship". It should be. The goal of training should be to develop an intense bond between horse and rider. I am bothered by efforts to quantify whether or not there is enough of a relationship. I do not mind it at all if people enjoy dancing around a sandy ring with a horse. That is fine and it shows a great deal of synchronicity. I do object when such a display becomes a requirement to prove the reality of a relationship.
I have been married nearly thirty years. I know no one closer to their wife than am I. I have never danced a single step with her and barring a traumatic head injury that would give me a new personalty, I imagine no possibility of such dancing ever occurring.
As always, the biggest problem with the work of big name clinicians is that they have no incentive to market that which makes them no money. There is no cash to be made in telling people to hug their horse. There is no level designation to be made by doing so. It is a shame because it is equal in importance to having control over the horse's movement. A solid relationship with a horse is based on equal parts affection and domination.
It is disconcerting that so many kids today do not seem to understand what actual affection is. Perhaps it says a lot about how we raise kids today. Giving a horse "treats" is not affection. It is nutrition. Braiding a horse's mane is not affection. It is decoration. Affection is close physical contact best directed to the horse's lower neck. Affection takes time. It takes many hours of handling a horse to make the horse want to be handled.
Suppose one had a wild stallion, captured because of a horrific neck wound that experienced months of uncomfortable and sometimes painful treatment for that injury. Suppose the result was a horse all too happy to kick any person that got to close. Suppose one spent over a hundred hours just rubbing his neck and talking softly to him. Suppose one spent scores of hours singing gently to him. Suppose one demonstrated genuine affection to the horse because one genuinely felt that affection.
Why, if one did that one might end up with a wild stallion very happy to have a four year old child sit on his back. Now imagine that.