Just watching has taught me so much. I see a horse perhaps being initially warmed up by one of the grooms and it not going very well, then watch when the rider gets on, I try to see what they do to get the horse soft and obedient
First time I saw the Spanish Riding School they were working th endorses in hand doing Airs Above the Ground. There was one horse that was meant to be doing a Capriole. It was brought across the arena and when asked, all it did was rush forward. This happened several times.
I never watched the other horses only this one horse that was obviously up tight.
The Leading Rider was working another horse and whilst there were others in the centre performing, he very quietly swapped horses.
He brought the nervy horse across and it just ran again. He got to the side, stopped it and from a pocket at the back of his jacket he gave the horse a tidbit. Three or four times he tried, each time the horse just rushed, each time he gave it a tidbit. All the time he was taking it around the outside of the arena he was talking to it, I could see his lips moving.
Then he came across and the horse had relaxed, when asked to Capriole that horse went up about five feet and his back legs were parallel to the ground. At the track he was stopped and tidbit given and immediately taken from the arena.
Majority of people would never have noticed the swap or the tdbits as so much was going on with the other horses.
It taught me that things do go wrong even with the best trained horses and, being quiet, installing confidence , praising the effort even if it wasn't the wanted result, achieved the wanted result with little hassle.