There was kind of an informal blog hop going around about this, although I forget now who all did it (my brain is on shaky ground these days – PLEASE FOAL ALREADY, MARE) … so if you participated and want to leave a link to your post in my comments, please do. But the premise was asking who can ride your horse – both ability wise and “allowed to” wise.
I feel like if I’ve done my job reasonably well, pretty much anyone should at least be able to get on and tootle around. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to make this horse more rideable (because I think that being really rideable is always a great thing for a horse to possess) so I like tossing someone else up there every once in a while and watching them push the buttons. Pretty much any rider should at minimum be able to get on and w/t/c and point the horse at some jumps. I harbor no delusions of grandeur about my ability as a rider: I don’t think I’m so special that I’m the only one who can ride him without messing him up. In reality he’s been putting up with my shit for quite a while, so he’s gotten to be pretty good at it by now. I have no qualms about giving just about anyone a leg up under my supervision, and most people who have experience with a forward-thinking horse should have no problem riding him.
The difference is supervised versus unsupervised. If I’m sitting there watching, I can control the situation and what the person does/doesn’t get to do. People also tend to be on their best behavior with the owner watching. So in that scenario, there are very few people who wouldn’t be allowed to ride my horse. Only exception: people with really bad hands. Y’all don’t get to come near Henny, sorry. Take up knitting or something.
But unsupervised rides mean that I have to trust you to have good judgment about my horse and what is appropriate. It’s one thing to trust someone to just pilot him around for fun while I watch. It’s another thing entirely to be trusted with a solo ride. The people I’d trust for that are limited mostly to the pros I’m comfortable with and friends who I know have a similar approach as I do.
Otherwise, as long as a situation is under my control, I feel like it’s good for my horse to get exposed to as much as possible, including different riders. What about you?