A dear friend made me realise that learning to communicate with your horse is no different to learning a new language.
There are many ways to learn a new language...some ways are better than others and everyone learns best with their chosen method.
If you don't learn the language correctly, if you skip the basics, miscommunication is imminent! You would not allow yourself to learn just "part" of a verb or only how to speak in the present tense when learning a language, so why scrimp on your learning or teaching as an equestrian?
Arguably, starting a horse or getting to know a youngster or gaining a new addition to the herd, is one of the most fun times in horse training. This is your moment to get to know one another, to become acquainted and is the true beginning to a thorough and steady education together.
Somewhere along the way, many have forgotten the art of playing. Once you have your basic understanding of how to move your horse, and are able to do it well, you are open to use what you've learnt to practice conversations with your horse. In the beginning, it will not look like much to an outside eye, but you will start to feel your horse and will begin to realise your horse does "talk" to you - they're not just a good listener! The tools you were taught for the basic movements now become your own.
When you have taken the time to slow down, speak softly and practice with your equine partner, you will have the tools to move freely as one and to progress.
This is where the fun begins! As you play with your "words" and learn to make "sentences" together!
We are equestrians. We are linguists.