Brett told me that you all are going to wonder about my sanity, with all my commentary about conversations that I have with Tex. I do believe that horses talk to us, if we listen. Sure, they don't speak in English but they speak to us nevertheless. I don't know how many of you read Gullivers Travels when you were a kid, but I did (numerous times). Gulliver visited a land populated by disgusting, human-like yahoos and also with rational, intelligent horses called houyhnhnms. Initially, the horses were so disgusted by Gulliver that they wouldn't talk to him. Gulliver was equally disgusted by the yahoos -- and preferred the company of the houyhnhnms.
I think the same holds true today. Horses speak a subtle language but most of us humans are too literal to hear them. We behave like yahoos -- pushing and grunting, yanking and yelling, to get the results we want. I've noticed, in my riding, that when I am able to ride softly, with focus, that harmony and communication increase astronomically. If I'm upset, or angry, or stressed or otherwise firmly distracted by my own world and emotional state, I cannot communicate with my horses at all. Lucy will pin her ears, give her head a shake, and leave. She's definitely got houyhnhnms blood in her. Tex just looks at me sadly, and quits communicating. Flash ... he tries to bite you.
So, when I "talk" to Tex it is really an expression of my energy, focus and intent. I look for subtle communication from him: the flick of an ear, the wiggle of his lower lip, and the softness of his eye. Tex is protective of his thoughts and feelings and, for the longest time, he didn't show anything.
I tend to chuckle or laugh when Tex reacts with suspicion at me rubbing my neck, or the crunching of the velcro on his fly mask. He jumps away but immediately comes back. A chuckle means "I'm not mad at you. You are safe. Let's try again."
I'm also very verbal and generous with neck rubs. I never pat Tex; that is too much like hitting. I rub his neck and tell him he is a good boy, a beautiful boy, and super smart. When I rode him last weekend, we built on our language. I chuckled when he rushed. And when he relaxed, I reached down and rubbed his neck while telling him that he was a good, good boy. "Look at you!" I said, "What a good boy you are."
And Tex's ears got soft, his eyes shone and he walked proudly forward.
That is how I "talk" to Tex.