What makes you think the 'games' you play with your horse are something he/she considers fun? As far as the horse is concerned it's all
work, regardless of what the clueless predator on the other side of the round pen thinks!
I do not ask my horse's permission to ride him, just as my supervisor doesn't ask my permission to do work for pay. Oh, no thank you, boss! I'd rather just sit here and play on the interwebz all day! KThnx!!!
My horses do not get to choose what we do or don't do, I
the herd leader, and what I say goes. My relationship with each of them is just fine, because I find that horses are MORE willing when they have a strong, confident leader
You can and should be friends with your horses, but being someone the animals can look up to is much
more important. Respect is mandatory; friendship is optional. I'd much rather my horses respected me than 'lurved' me, because with respect they're less likely to try and walk all over me.