Having evolved in the social hierarchy of a herd, the horse is adept at reading subtle cues. He has a keen ability to pick up on the hesitations, uncertainty, and lack of self-assurance a person without "presence" puts forth. But when you have presence, he will sense that you are clear, confident, and resolved about your position.
Presence has to do with carrying or conducting yourself in a self-assured manner that commands respectful attention. Presence is a quality that permits you to achieve a relationship of mutual trust and respect with the horse. The foundation of presence rests upon the existence of good boundaries.
Boundaries provide structure, guidance, and definition. Boundaries draw a line between what is acceptable and what is unacceptable in a relationship. When they have been carefully thought out, put into place, monitored, and enforced, boundries maintain order, keep things identifiable, and promote safety. They anchor your position and prevent you from being steered off course. Knowing where things stand produces a confidence in you – a presence – that lets the horse know what you have to offer as well as what you expect from him.
The horse is also a master at perceiving and then either honoring – or taking advantage of – boundaries. And if you do not set boundaries, he will set them for you.
Boundaries are guidelines that you create so the horse knows where he's to be. Boundaries allow you to direct the interactions in the relationship. Therefore, your boundaries must be specific and they must be clear. If your boundaries are vague to you, they will be vague to the horse. In other words, clear boundaries ensure order in the relationship. Unconditional boundaries guarantees chaos – as the horse steps in and begins calling the shots.
With effective boundaries in place, you are able to adopt a level of presence that gives off an unspoken message that you are particular. Because the horse realizes it's tough to manipulate or control someone with clearly defined boundaries, both you and your boundaries will be respected.