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It was certainly a thought provoking question and made me wonder what the horses would have to say on the matter. As it turns out, they had more to say than I expected. From the collective consciousness of the horses here is the explanation:
There are many reasons, but first and foremost, they see it as their job.
As young ones grow and see older ones being ridden they grow up with the idea that this is a part of growing up and not unlike human children they emulate their parents or other adults. They see it as a rite of passage and look forward to the day they will be grown up enough to be entrusted with a rider. Barring any physical discomforts or bad experiences, they will continue with the attitude that it is a privilege and a normal part of their lives. Some of them grow to quite enjoy spending time with their rider, going on excursions together. Those lucky ones develop a strong bond with their rider and truly experience the joy that relationship can bring.
The unlucky who do not enjoy that relationship see it as a job, something to be endured. Not particularly unpleasant but not how they’d prefer to spend their time. They see it as payment for the upkeep and so they tolerate it.
Some unlucky ones have been so broken in spirit that they are numb to life and simply exist.
Then there are others who due to pain issues or bad experiences look at it as an adversarial relationship. They will do everything in their power to avoid being ridden.
Sadly, there are far too many horses who fit the latter categories. However, I know there are also many who have wonderful relationships with their guardians and enjoy their time together. Please feel free to share your anecdotes by clicking the comments link below this post.
Looking forward to hearing from you!