Not to "beat a dead horse" but I spent the first 3 years I had with my mare behaving in the "recommended" way. She'd get balky about something or other and I would "do the 'right' thing" and MAKE her do whatever it was. I would get on her case when she came into my space or swung her head too close to me while I was leading her.
I was the absolute opposite of making excuses for her. I told her to do something and she DID IT, often without any sort of grace, but she did what I asked.
Then, about a year ago, it turned out that she has and has had a degenerative eye disease that has rendered her nearly blind. She was nearly blind while I was asking her to cross deep water, canter jumps, navigate steep muddy hills, etc. Thing she did not want to do but since I wasn't going to make excuses for her, she did them.
We could have been seriously injured because I was looking at her behavior through a "no excuses" mindset.
I still don't make excuses for her but instead of thinking "no excuses" first thing, I think "what's scary about this?" first, then we deal with the worry. She still does exactly what I ask her to do but I'm more empathetic about it. If she's uncomfortable with something, like navigating a steep slippery hill, we might take one small step on the hill (so she does what I asked her to do), then we go around the hill.
Basically my point is that we, as horse owners/trainers/carers, need to look at our horses through a lens of reasonable empathy. We most definitely should not be making excuses for our horses' bad behavior but we need to be benevolent about it - use a lens of empathy and consider WHY the horse might be putting up a fuss, then deal with that issue.