The tragic thing is that people do not recognize that a) there is so much more that people can do to truly bond with their horses, and b) it’s genetically programmed into horses that a predator on their back is bad news. This doesn't mean that people should not ride their horses, because when a human has a strong, trust-based relationship with their horses, riding is enjoyable for the person and horse. But this stereotype that the only thing people can do with their horses is ride is seriously flawed.
Only visiting your horse when you ride him is also rude. Take a moment and put yourself in a horse’s hooves. Let’s say you have a friend who only interacts with you when they need something. “No hello”, simply walking up and demanding a favor. It wouldn’t be long before you’d decide you didn’t want this person to be your supposed “friend” anymore. This is exactly what happens to many horses. Can’t catch your horse in the pasture? He’s trying to say, “You’ve been too rude! Every time you come around, you always make me work. We never have fun or bond, it’s simply you making me work for your pleasure.”
Moral of the story: this stereotype needs to change. People need to be educated about horses and how to respect them. They should realize that horses are more than just a pleasure ride. People can have fun with their horses from the ground whether it’s through desensitizing, obstacle courses, or simply spending quality time with them. Horses can teach us patience, respect, and self awareness. It’s time to break the “riding stereotype” on horses and realize that horses are not in the human world to be beasts of burden, they are here to be loved, understood, respected, and to be our partners.