One light bulb slowly brightening in my brain is just how important it is for a rider to be able to clearly communicate to his/her horse that he/she is in fact, in charge of the ride. Might sound obvious, but horses are big, intimidating animals and it can be a difficult thing to walk the line between discipline and abuse. I have tried the easier, softer way and found that it can get me into trouble. Problem is, a good trainer is necessary to do the education. Even then, having that confident, "calm assertive" energy and being able to smack him with the whip or give him a sharp kick at the appropriate time and not lose my cool can be tough. That kind of benevolent dictatorship, as Mark Todd says, seems to be a quality that I've noticed in really good riders. I don't know if their insides match their outsides, but they sure look confident on the outside!