I read some equestrian news yesterday that Sinead Halpin retired one of her top mounts, and she quoted her husband, Tik Maynard, as saying, “A great horse would jump through fire for you if you asked, and a great horseman would never ask.”
I can think about this for hours. It might be one of my favorite lines I have ever read about horses, and one of the truest things I have ever read about riders.
Don’t ask horses unfair questions. A great horse will do anything for you because you haven’t ever asked an unfair question.
Don’t ask horses to do more than you would expect of yourself. If you want to work your horse hard on a regular basis, be in the right shape to keep up with his fitness.
Don’t ask a horse to take care of himself until you have taught him to and given him the confidence to follow through with getting both horse and rider out of a jam. If you point a horse at a fence he’s never seen before and he goes, it’s because you have allowed him to practice over many kinds of jumps until he got good at it and now he has the confidence in himself to know that he can jump this new jump, too. If you point a horse at a fence he’s never seen before and he stops, it’s because you have failed at your job of giving him the confidence to succeed over any fence you want to point him at.
(perfectly boring trot video for no reason)
Don’t ask a horse to take care of you until you have committed all of your necessary resources to taking care of him. He can’t take care of you until you give him the best possible life available. He won’t take care of you unless he trusts you. You are responsible for earning that trust and never betraying it.