Bluespark, I agree with you completely. My abused (actually abused, have eye-witness accounts of the horse being beaten with fists/hoses/whips/sticks - he has scars on his legs if you look closely) horse was distrustful, but got treated like a horse. He did get a bit more time than an unabused horse would get when I re-introduced hoses and whips as a friendly thing, but other than that is fine. He will get a bit anxious when strangers try to touch his face, and he freaks out when sticks make that cracking noise when they fall out of trees, but he's progressivley getting better with it.
It annoys me when people let their horses get away with stuff because they've been "abused" but in reality, the horse knows that they've got the power to push those people around, or they simply just haven't been taught manners.