Today I had occasion to compliment a horse I was working with on his nice manners.
It occurred to me that when people talk about a horse's nice manners, they usually mean that the horse has been trained to behave, to be obedient, to be respectful, to be compliant.
But that's not what I meant.
My grandmother of blessed memory had many wise sayings. One thing she used to say was that good manners were simply Christian principles put into practice - one is polite and mannerly because it's a way of treating others as one would wish to be treated oneself, of putting others at ease and - well - of being nice to them.
That's what I meant with this horse. I felt he was being kind and accommodating to me. He was willing to put himself out, shifting his weight onto his sore leg when I asked, just because I asked. He picked up his feet and left them on the stand without fussing, even though he wasn't used to the stand and was suspicious at first. I felt he did all this not because he felt he had to, or was afraid of any negative consequences, or because he was trained to, but because he wished to treat me nicely.