Today my daughter brought home two friends and asked if they could go for a ride - the friends on horseback, my daughter attending on foot. I said yes, and faded into the background, watching from a distance.
After retrieving the tack, the girls brought George and Rose out of the pasture, tied them up to the fence, and set to. I lurked in the house, peering out the window every now and then.
I trusted my daughter to be on top of things, but I didn't know how much experience her friends had with horses and riding. So I was relieved when I peeked out and saw one young lady, already mounted on George, looking very much at home and in charge. My daughter stuck close to the other friend (who was less experienced) on Rose.
I don't think those girls once agonized over what the horses were thinking/feeling/saying. George's rider did remark that he was a bit "antsy," and then I think I overheard her say he was "stubborn." And my daughter and Rose's rider were not dealing with the fact that Rose was spending way too much time with her nose in the air. However, the whole thing went rather smoothly, and after the horses were back in the pasture, Rose gazed after the girls, rather longingly I thought, as they walked back to the barn with the tack. And although George threw out the odd cranky glance, he seemed to just get on with the job at hand.
Sometimes I'm grateful for my daughter and her no-nonsense approach. It shows me that their sensitive equine souls don't immediately shrivel up and die if you just ask them to do something. Also - these girls have been inculcated with a certain confident expectation of how things are to be done, a confidence which I think is transmitted to the horses and is perhaps somewhat reassuring to them.
I'm glad my approach has changed (I would say improved), but there's something here I could learn from, I'm sure. And how nice it is to have someone else take the little dears out and entertain them.