I was on a horse once for about a minute. I ended up flat on my back looking up at a horse "laughing" at me. It had bucked me over it's head onto the ground. I've never been on one since.
That type of thing tended to be a bit of a game where they would put a green kid on a horse they know was twitchy. In theory, it was for a valid reason. To see if the person had a natural talent, or seat in the guff of the horsey people. I think it put off more people that way though.
I always wanted a horse as a kid, but never got one. I did get to ride with friends a few times at a local stable. (Western style, of course) It's been almost 40 years since I've been on one, though I did climb on Buster (one of our donkeys) bareback a time or two.
While far from all kids in Ireland grow up with a horse, or very easy access. A lot do. And far more than you'd normally imagine taking regrade for income of parents. Me I was on the back of a horse within months of being born. Not riding of course, but nonetheless on. And they were there all through my childhood.
Ha! That's funny! Most of the horses I rode were quite nicely mannered and geldings so I don't have a lot of experience with stubborn horses. I had one mare who was so snooty and bratty and liked to watch me go over the fences without her. That would apply to her for sure. Mares are like the popular girl at school who rolls her eyes at everything. ;) That's a great picture. I can see how horses away from their barn can be a bit hesitant with their surroundings, a bit spooky. We rode mostly in the arenas, so when we'd go off site for a trail ride all the new sights caused a lot of twists and turns and jumps to the side. How nice to be able to ride over to the beach!!
Mares and girls tend not to go so well together. Probably too alike for comfortable getting along. I'd say what this girl was up too was taking some of the unusual out of things and making the pony a bit more stable. I saw them going up the beach like a dream while I was trying to pump the kayak. And the horse seemed unfrazed by the wind whipping sand and all sorts of bits flying. Then I packed away the ship :-), and brought Jessy for a gallop up the beach. During which the pair had turned and retracing their route. All with the rider trying to get the animal to nudged into the surf. But it wasn't until Jessy went in really near the pair that the animal went in too. And in up to it's knees too. But the full reason why she was doing this has to do with the 3-day eventing that's so big here, really big. Where you have cross country-showjumping-dressage with the one pair. They really need to be sound in the head for that game.
Quite simply, I have never been comfortable on a horse.
Some aren't. And some just need a bit of time. It helps if you have a family that use them.
I don't mind riding but isn't a thing I go out of my way to do and I've only ridden a few times in my life, mostly with my cousins at their farm.
I did a bit when I was a kid. But it's been a while now.