I think more in terms of setting limits. Demand or insist, you are giving the horse one option. In most cases, I prefer to think there are more than two options. When time permits, looking for a 3rd or 4th option that BOTH accept - mutually acceptable compromise - is a better way.
With Bandit at least, in a tough spot, he WANTS to know what I suggest. That is because over time my suggestions have proven to be good ways to handle whatever is scary. Time permitting, he might say, "That one is too tough!
" But when it is, "I'm overwhelmed! What do we do?
", he tends to take my first suggestion immediately.
That said, he has freedom within parameters: No bucking. No biting. No bolting. No spinning.
Violate those few rules, and I'll be as mean as needed to convince you that behavior is unacceptable to me.
In return, if he gets nervous, I try to honor his concerns without putting him into a spot where bucking or bolting feels necessary to him.
There are also times I will strongly urge him. Not insist because he may make it clear it REALLY seems to hard to him, and I try to respect that. But experience has taught him when I strongly urge him to do something, it works. And if it REALLY seems too tough for him, I'll usually back down. It works for us because we are both honest with each other. And that honesty wasn't there when I got him. I had to convince him I would listen before he became honest with me
With most Thoroughbreds, force simply doesn't work; equestrian tact does. The English call such sensitive horses "high couraged", a characteristic that can be a double-edged sword. No horse will give you more if you can channel his energy in the right direction, but no horse can fight you harder if you abuse him. Pushing and pulling will backfire and is akin to stepping on the gas and the brakes at the same time in an automobile. Finesse, compromise, and an indirect approach to the problem - "going in through the back door" - will usually get the job done much better than confrontations, force and fights.
The American Jumping Style, George Morris, pages 16-17
Bandit is half-mustang, half-Arabian, but he is an independent spirit. Like Mia before him, he thinks
in a way Trooper and Cowboy do not. Trooper and Cowboy are content with orders. Bandit prefers suggestions. He views me as a staff officer. He thinks I work for him.
"Therefore, everywhere - out-of-doors or in the haute ecole - success with horses is to him who applies this maxim of Baucher...
'Let him think that he is our master, then he is our slave.' There dwells an eternal equestrian truth!
'The horse is the sole master of his forces; even with all of our vigor, by himself, the rider is powerless to increase the horse's forces. Therefor, it is for the horse to employ his forces in his own way, for himself to determine the manner of that employment so as to best fulfill the demands of his riders. If the rider tries to do it all, the horse may permit him to do so, but the horse merely drifts, and limits his efforts to those which the rider demands. On the contrary, if the horse knows that he must rely on himself, he uses himself completely, with all of his energy.'" - 5 May 1922
-- Horse Training Outdoors and High School, Etienne Beudant (1931)