you don't hit a horse, in a way, yes. I mean you don't just walk up to a horse and hit it. But, if you are asking it to move over, and you are twirling the rope and moving toward the horse, and the horse does't move, then he kind of runs into the rope, by virtue of him not moving away from the "fire", he gets burned. All horses have enough sense to move away from a twirling rope, IF they know it WILL bump them and it will feel bad/hurt a bit.
So, you will likely have to let the rope run into your horse. YOu ask him to move back? well you have the lead tail in your left hand and the lead line in your right (in this example, you are on his left) and you are backing up and putting some tugs on the linel, and holding that line out in front and twirling it around like a propeller. as you back up, if horse does not back up , too, the propeller gets closer and closer to his nose. If he does't back up, he gets nose bopped. you keep twirling, bop or not, until he backs up a step. Stop all pressure, and rest.
Rinse and repeat. start with asking by the lead rope (no twirling) then add in twirling that is out in front, and you back up, and the propellor is like a wall, advancing on the hrose. IF he does't back up, it runs into him. he does not see it as YOU hitting him.