...my opinion is that men can't accept the 24/7 responsibility of horse ownership - whereas women seek the committment...
Gotta disagree with you here. Guys are quite capable of making time commitments to something they have an interest in doing. I've known plenty who spend uncounted hours tweaking a car. I've known a number who were hopeless dog fanatics. My son-in-law has been known to spend an hour cleaning one revolver after shooting - don't ask me how. It takes me about 5 minutes. Less if it is stainless steel.
15 months ago I wrote that men are goal oriented. I still think that is part of it. Of the 3 horses I own, two are just horses I sometimes ride. I clean up after them, feed them, etc, but neither gelding has ever bonded with me, or vice versa. They are better horses than my mare, in many ways. Calmer. Easier to train. If you go a month without riding them, so what?
It is the mare who has turned me into a rider. Probably because
she is such a PITA, not in spite of it. She is a challenge. Dominant, stubborn, expressive, fearful. Not to be taken for granted. After 4 years, I will sometimes take my feet out of the stirrups with her, but only long enough to stretch a kink. She isn't a bucker, thank goodness, but we've had our share of bolts. If she thinks what we're doing is stupid, she gets angry. The geldings will work turns around a set of cones until asked to stop. The mare will tolerate maybe three turns before her back warns me that constantly turning in circles is stupid, and she doesn't like stupid people. I've never sat on her back and thought, "I'm safe"...
If I was smart, I'd have sold her years ago. The trainer I've worked with says most of her clients would have dumped her within months, and that my buying her may be all that kept her from a trip to Mexico. But it is the very challenge of her that makes it interesting. If riding just meant getting on a well-mannered gelding and walking thru the desert, I'd be bored out of my mind.
I don't need any equine sports to provide a challenge. I don't have to wear tight breeches, or worry about how my tack looks, or what the judges want. The judge that matters is the 900 lbs of muscle and erratic temperament underneath me. Can I find a way into her head, so that she will yield herself to me? Once in a great while, the answer is yes. Then she loans me her body, and for a brief time she will understand what I want and do it before I can give her a conscious cue. Her body and my mind...briefly, until it falls apart and we return to separate beings.
Without me, she may have gone to Mexico by now. Without her, I'd have quit riding.
There are not a lot of horses like her. The lesson horses I've ridden tend to make me appreciate a good dirt bike, instead.
Maybe women are more likely to find that bond with a horse. Maybe some bond with lesson horses, although I don't know how. My youngest daughter only wants to ride our Appy gelding. My wife has started riding our little mustang, and prefers him to any other horse she has met. Neither of the geldings connect with me, so maybe women are better at connecting emotionally with a horse. Any horse. Maybe men need a special type of horse to make them think riding horses beats riding motorcycles...