I have made the following resolution: I will never again mount a horse without its explicit permission, except in cases of emergency (#balto, #paulrevere).
The newly minted head honcho Bridget didn't want to leave her pasture the other day and was eager to return. She was nice about everything and let me put her saddle on. But when it came time to stand by the mounting block, she kept turning her tail away so that I couldn't reach the saddle.
She was very nice about it and stood very calmly and sweetly with her head next to my body, but every time I re-positioned her, she moved out of position again. I know many horses are trained to stand still on a loose rein for mounting. But that's not good enough for me. I want a freely-given assent from a horse who is secure in the knowledge that a refusal will carry no consequences whatsoever. I don't mind asking politely a few times in a row, but if the answer continues to be no, then that's it.
I know now that Bridget understands about mounting and that she enjoys a trail ride. So when she says no, I trust that she has a good reason. The transition from being annoying kid sister to HBIC in the pasture may take a while, and patience on my part is probably in order.