Lots of great replies, many of which trail right back to those two little words "common sense"; throw some logic and gut instinct into the formula as to when it's the right thing to do "this" or "that".
I know a few folks that have had horses for 30 years that would make all the horses they've gone thru much happier if they'd've just bought a stuffed one from WalMart. Horses are well cared for, trimmed regularly, get their vaccines on time, blah blah blah. Somehow the horse owner(s) have managed to remain clueless that the reason all the horses they have gone thru just might be them! What a concept.
On the flip side, I am acquainted with a few horse owners that have only been into horses for five years or less. They already know more than the lifers mentioned above becaussssssss - they've got common sense and actually use it
So just because the horse is spit-shined, hooves filed to perfection, and every vaccine known to man has been injected into the horse for 2010, does not mean the person is a good horse owner.
It shows they care plenty, but that still doesn't make them a great horse owner; it does make them a good horse caregiver in terms of basic health needs.
I may catch some flack for that and some of the younger generation may not quite understand my thoughts only because they haven't traveled down Life's road as far as I have, but that's how I see things thru these old eyes