The only way a horse trainer will begin to see any of the obedience and compliance that we look for while training a horse, is if it is based on a trusting relationship. To begin forming a trusting relationship between you and a horse, everything you do while around the horse must be routine and regular, with nothing startling ever happening. Be sure that everything you do around your horse is in a rhythmic and methodical way
Years ago, some trainers were taught to begin training a horse by making it gentle. The way they did this was not very pleasant, and was actually quite negative. They would tie the horse up and started hitting it with a blanket or whatever they were using until the horse's skin stopped jumping and the horse stayed still. There are a few problems with this method of making the horse gentle. Besides the obvious that it isn't very nice, it also didn't teach the horse what it should be doing, but rather taught the horse what it shouldn't be doing.
It's the same type of principle in humans. If you accidentally burn yourself, you immediately move your hand away.
You don't really have time to process what options you have, you simply are reacting. You didn't really learn anything; you just know not to do it because it's unpleasant. The same goes for the gentling technique of horses. You're not really teaching them anything; you're only simply presenting an option, the option to react and know that they don't like being hit.
The start of training any horse begins with using routine motions and behaviors around the horse. This allows the horse to feel comfortable and not fear for any sudden or startling events. The horse will begin to trust you because it will know that when you are around, they don't have to fear for the unknown. It's important to begin this constant, routine behavior from the very moment you come into visual or audio contact with the horse. From the sound of your voice, to the sound of your footsteps, they should be routine and familiar to the horse in training. Even opening the stall door should be in predictable rhythm so the horse always will know what is going to come next.
Paying attention to your own and the horses breathing will be a way of determining whether or not you have rhythm. If your breathing is steady and constant, you have rhythm. If the horse's breathing is as well, the horse is at ease. If the horse's breathing is not steady or constant, it may be a sign that something has been done to upset it or was unfamiliar. If the horse is startled, and is able to regain a steady breathing, all while your breathing has been un-wavering, soon the horse will discover that even if it is startled, coming back to you will be safe and secure and that everything around you remains rhythmic and predictable.
Though you may be able to maintain a steady rhythm while grooming and feeding your horse, you may have a hard time when it comes to actually training the horse. If you try to gain control over your horse by using sudden movements, this will not fare well with your companion. Remember, you need to interact with your horse and remain as stable as possible.
One good example is when people, who are working with baby horses, are trying to stop them from biting, they keep pushing its nose away each time it tries to nip. However, this behavior is interrupting whatever else you are trying to do with the horse, and is not achieving the correct results.
What you should do in this sort of instance is put a flash or a drop noseband on him to stabilize the jaw so he is only able to nibble rather than bite. With this, you are able to continue doing what you're doing and ignore his attempts at pulling you into his game. You're neither reacting, nor breaking your rhythm of training and soon he'll be bored and will quit. Since you're controlling the rhythm of the situation, you are also controlling the movement of your horse.
To be a good horse trainer, you need to learn enough self discipline to be able to maintain steady and controlled breathing at all times. Even in the saddle, it's important that you do not hold your breath and tense up, as this will break your rhythm, and the horse will notice. If your horse somehow gets startled or spooked while you are riding him, you need to remain calm yourself and ride him calmly continuing forward without interruption.
All of the things we will teach our horse and the games we will play with him will involve rhythm. Dressage is one game that involves the maintenance of rhythm with altering degrees of strength and stride length. Reining involves riding in many circles while varying the rhythm. Whatever your goals of are throughout your horse training, rhythm will always be the base for successful completion.