One question we rarely ask ourselves is whether or not our horses enjoy the work they do with us. We ride our horses daily, and we can tell when they seem to be happy and when they seem to be irritated. But, do horses like being ridden?
Some horses are known for being "grumpy" or "difficult". This horse pins his ears and tries to bite kids as they walk by. But, is he doing this because he hates his job, or is it a sign that he's a bad horse?
Typically, if a horse is unhappy, there is a good reason for it. For example, if a horse pins its ears when you’re tightening its girth, it’s possible that the horse’s stomach hurts or that the saddle doesn’t fit properly and is hurting his back.
When all is well, horses enjoy work. They enjoy being ridden, and they enjoy routine. Like people, they enjoy having something to occupy their minds, and when it is done properly, horses have no indication of disliking being ridden.
Yes, horses enjoy being ridden. They enjoy routine and they enjoy having a job, the same way people do. But, if we as their riders and caretakers make their jobs miserable, they will no longer enjoy doing them. The same way that you would not enjoy a job where the manager treated you terribly.