I was always taught that any "love" from the horses came from years and years of a working partnership between the two of you. It wasn't the lovey-dovey teenager youtube crap, it was having a horse that would rip his heart out of his chest to do anything you asked of him. Love for me is having the horse that always worked for you, had good manners, and that never left you behind. For these reason I do believe that my two love me. A safe and working partnership with the horse is first priority for me, any form of love can come later because it's built on years of respect and work, not fifteen minuets a day and you can ride without tack.
Then again I was taught that "bonding" was knowing the individual horse inside and out and know how to communicate with them. One of my instructors would just send me out in the field to watch the horse I was going to ride in the herd because I needed to know what and how he thought, know his movements and basically be able to read him like an open book. I had to figure out how to calm him, how to communicate with him under saddle and on the ground and how to earn his trust/respect/get good results from him.
(And I've seen a lot of men baby their horses as well, it isn't just women