I've found that most horses generally fall into one of two categories. You have the saintly, almost irrationally patient horses, and you have the ones who aren't so tolerant. I find myself shaking my head all the time at what some horses put up with.
Norman, for example, is one of the super-tolerant horses, and I really wish he wasn't like that. A lot of it is his breed. He has a very high pain tolerance and he's hard to read because of it. Just last week, I was lunging him and when I put the side reins on, I noticed he was playing with his tongue and the bit looked... weird. And then I saw that the bit was under his tongue. O.O His mouth was closed and he was bright and alert for the whole ten minutes before he finally opened his mouth enough to see it. I felt horrible. It must have been uncomfortable, but for some reason, he just put up with it.
If that had been Victor, he would have been gaping and tossing his head the minute the bridle was on. That's one thing I'm grateful for. He lets me know right away if something's wrong and he isn't about to suffer a fool (good thing he's not Cynthia's horse. She'd be six feet under by now). I will say that I prefer the intolerant horses for that reason.
On the other hand, Reba would definitely fall into the irrationally tolerant category. She gets ridden into the ground and handled by ignorant people/inexperienced riders regularly and she never puts a foot wrong. Horses like that are worth their weight in gold. It's worrying me more and more because of her age. She's noticeably more sway backed than she was when I first met her and I've noticed that she's stiff when she comes out of her stall. It's more prominent in the winter months as well, and I think she might be a little arthritic. Not that anyone who rides her is likely to care.
So, what are your stories? I'm interested to hear from you. Have you ever encountered one of those amazingly kind horses and if so, did they have good or bad owners?