A little story with a profound truth. George had injured his knee and part of the daily routine was that I would wash the wound to keep it clean.
I had a friend with me who was never in contact with horses before but was quite fond of my horses and had spent time, hanging out with them, feeding them all sorts of goodies. So I asked him if he would be willing to hold George for me as I knew George was not too keen on this kind of treatment.
So, there we were, my friend holding the rope and I approaching the wound. I must admit, I know that the wound was quite hurtful. George yielded and my friend did not really know how to stop him from doing this. I realised that this would not happen.
So, I grabbed the robe, it was still loosely hanging and asked George to "stand". I was clear and precise, he heard me but I felt in that second that he still was more annoyed with standing for the treatment than following my request. So, the next thing that came out of my mouth was: "Take a deep breath!" I commanded and took a deep breath myself.
So did George, he took that deep breath and then his head went down and he did not flinch a bit for the rest of the treatment. There was no animosity whatsoever, it was no issue.
Knowing what I know and have experienced with this horse I have hit the exact balance of asking him to follow my request. It had to be with strength coming from my core but pure in energy, no hidden frustration, no worrying, no begging, as a matter of fact no thought at all. Just a very clear, precise energy.