I'm very interested in the above quote and would like to hear/learn more about it, examples history and so on. I'm interested enough that I almost used it as the title to a new thread for a full discussion of it.
I decided to leave it here since it's very much on topic.
First, I guess I better clarify my interpretation at looking at something.
First, of course I let a horse look at stuff, riding along, but this is different than a horse stopping, without being asked to , staring at something-head up and tense
In the wild, horse survived using their keen senses and an instinct to react first, if they were not sure of something that looked suspicious, get some distance away, and then look back to try and understand if that object was a threat or not
The horse that delayed to long, without fleeing, often became 'dinner'
Thus, a horse that balks on the trail, stopping on his own, head up to stare at something, is programed for his next natural step, to leave
If you allow that horse to stop and stare, then why should that horse look to you for that next step? He is set up to follow his instincts and leave!
Getting into a horse's head, is certainly not convincing him that you have 'bit power' Getting into that horse;s head, means he learn sto come back to you, trust your judgement as leader, and thus over ride his natural inborn reactions, or at least dampen them, tot he point he pauses, then continues on when you convey it is safe, or learns to spook in place, or even has a good genuine spook, but doe snot try to spook and bolt
In other words, the horse learns that you as leader, are watching out 'for those lions', so he does not have to. That is getting into the mind of a horse. When you get this un conditional trust, it is quite wonderful
I will give another example of this. I was riding my gelding home, in the fall, along a road that leads up from the river. We came upon a bull moose standing on the other side of the fence, being stupid as a bull moose can be,while in rut. My gelding looked like a possible mate to him!
Einstein stopped, then looked back at me, as if to say 'now what?'
I knew trying to run by him might be a mistake, thus I decided to bluff him
I had a coat tied on the back of my saddle, took it off, and waved it wildly while yelling, asking Einstein to charge that moose. Without questioning me, my horse did as asked and Mr bull moose fell for my bluff and left
I also know my horse has a better sense than I do, thus it he stops and looks at something ahead, that I am not aware of, that is way different that a horse stopping and staring at what I know is a rock, refusing to move forward
I ride in grizzly bear country, and have come across grizzlies, that fortunately, were as happy to see the last of me, as I was of them
Riidng a long once, where it had been logged, and trees were growing back that were a few feet high, my horse suddenly stopped, and I saw a big brown back, that I thought at first was an elk. Head came up, and I saw it was a grizzly. My horse did not try to bolt, bear left, and we continued on without any hesitation.