"Which is why I think everyone who rides has the responsibility to learn to ride at least to a certain level, so that the horse is comfortable carrying him around. A badly ridden horse is never a happy horse. Badly ridden horses develop problems they'd never develop in the wild. A poor-sitting rider or poorly-fitting equipment causes soundness problems. And even if the horse is so strong that it won't go lame, it will develop temperament problems.
"And handling on the ground is also a horse's environment. If a horse is being unfairly handled, or even brushed too hard, he'll react. If you go into a stable and see a horse that just stands in a corner, this is very uncharacteristic of natural horse behavior, because a horse in nature is totally interested in his life, and has to be to stay alive. You may have to remember, the animal has no say-so in what will happen to it; you're totally responsible for its well-being. And that's really how I see my duty with respect to dressage: to teach people how to make their horses' lives more comfortable.
"The horse must be allowed to be a horse and to develop its character. Correct dressage and correct handling develop the horse's character. They become perkier, and more confident in themselves. They stop shying because they feel confident in their world. And their bodies become more beautiful through correct dressage, and they live longer and healthier lives. We take away the horse's freedom, but we give something back. We develop the horse's mind."
(©1996 Hunter & Sport Horse, January/February)