STEP 1. Keep your eyes on me. Many clinicians recommend causing a horse to run around the round pen right and left, then teaching the horse to turn to the inside of the circle and "face up" to them. I skip several of theses steps and begin by just drawing the horse's attention, when it looks at me with two eyes I turn my back to it and walk away. The horse soon sees me as very little threat and ignores me. Then I apply pressure, just enough to make it so the horse feels like it can't ignore me. Repeating this again and again, the horse will soon keep its eyes glued on me, using the horse's focus to bend its neck I can quickly cause the horse to yield its hind end right and left, pretty soon after that it will begin taking steps towards me, and even following me.
STEP 2. Let me in. Each horse is different and it will take various amounts of time for them to follow long enough to begin drifting into arm's reach. I measure arm's reach as the length of my arm with my training stick in my hand, about 8 feet. Their being that close tells me that I have been given the trust to be in their personal space and can start asking to actually touch them. Stetson only took about 10 minutes to come within arms reach, that is not typical of a mustang, most will take several hours, or even days to willingly be that close. When I have been "invited" in to their space I begin using retreat and approach to close the gap and actually touch the horse with my stick. Sometimes I will use a fence corner to restrict the horse's movements while I approach, but I prefer if the horse is willing to stay still or even approach me at the center of the pen. Most horses want to sniff and bite the stick a lot before allowing it to touch them, but Stetson and Crystal, the mustang I trained last year, showed no interest in smelling, or even looking at the stick and let me skip straight to massaging their neck with it.
STEP 3. Trust my touch. Once I can touch the horse I spend a lot of time petting, rubbing, and scratching to ensure that the horse not only allows me to touch it all over its body, but also enjoys the attention. This is the only time that I really appreciate mosquitoes. Finding bug bites a horse can't reach is one of the best ways to bond with a horse. If I find an area that the horse is defensive about, indicated by muscle tightening, or skin flinches, I do not make an issue out of it. I rub an area that the horse is completely comfortable with and then lightly swipe my hand across the touchy spot quickly, while walking away. This allows me to practice re-approaching the horse many times, while also letting the horse know that I don't mean to hurt or even worry them about any spot they don't want touched. Only after the horse is very confident with me touching it with two hands over nearly its entire body, can I move on to introducing pressure.
STEP 4. Fingertip yields. I find the least threatening way to introduce pressure is with my hands, because it is very easy for the horse to escape the horse begins to gain confidence quickly. Many trainers will tell you that allowing a horse to break away from pressure will teach them to push through pressure rather than yield, and that is true of confident horses, but horses that are afraid of being restricted will grow more relaxed if they know it is very easy to get away. Only when they are relaxed with the pressure can they think about what you are asking for and release their tension enough to yield to the pressure. The beginning of a yield is a horse not resisting. Which to begin with feels like the horse's muscles relaxing, nothing more, but it builds into the horse slowly moving away from the pressure while still keeping the contact with my hand. After I can bend a horse's head around to the right and left, as well as yield its hip, and move its shoulders over I will begin introducing ropes, halters, and leading.