you want to understand more about horses. ok. I think that people sometimes struggle to understand horses because they think of them more like other animals that humans have domesticated, and live closely with, and have affectionate relationships with, such as cats and dogs.
They see the way a rider pets his horse, and stands close to it, and asks it to do things, etc, and they maybe assume this is like a human and her dog.
h m m . . . . not really. Horses are much different from dogs or cats, even while we still can consider them 'pets', but it must be in a very different way.
the most fundamental difference , and it's huge, is that horses are prey animals, we are not, nor are dogs and cats. Horses' entire existence is one of asking this question, "Is it safe?"
Their entire paradigm of life is that "I am in constant potential danger, so must be ready to react first, think later . . . . or I will be dead".
that is why it takes so much training to overcome the horse's natural and very strong sense of self preservation, and get them to where they allow us to do all the things we do to them, which are counter to their instincts.
the fact that they DO allow us to do these things is often the reason why people call them 'dumb or stupid'. And, becuase even with the best of training, they can still erupt in unpredictable, and dangerous behavior, reinforces that reputation for being stupid beasts.
But, their 'intelligence' is how they have knit their existence into "Herd life". in this way they survive and prosper, and part of that is a very strong, inate desire to 'get along' with others. they seek out leadership. they WANT to fall in behind or beside a ' brother or sister' and enjoy the sense of flowing together, just as birds flock and fly in random turns, in unison.
that 'linking' desire is what makes the horse seek out leadership, even from humans.
So, some people feel that the horse must be humiliated to be made to work for the human. Must be stupid to allow that, when he could escape or resist. Maybe. but his happiness at being , just BEING, in the company of 'others' is something that we humans could admire , and emulate.