Many moons ago when I was a teen, bonding with a horse wasn't something we even thought about. We all enjoyed the horses, respected them and demanded good manners in return. It wasn't a matter of wanting the horse to love us nor us needing to love on and cuddle the horse. We groomed them, rode them, and put them away and left them to be horses. None were barn sour or herd sour. People that I knew rarely ran into difficulties with their horses. Something changed and now people, women want the horse to love them and have this idea that demanding respect is akin to a beating. Because of this we hear of many many cases where the horse has no respect for it's owner. I sometimes wonder where I was during the transition period.
I think I grew up about the same time you did. I messed with my horse every day, brushing, grooming, bathing, clipping, riding, showing and all of that. I adored my horse for being a horse and I adored how he tried his heart out for me in the ring. Did he love me? I don't know that that thought ever crossed my mind. He was always there for me. I remember sitting on top of him in his stall and just sobbing into his mane when I heard the news that my trainer's very beloved dad had terminal cancer. The horse allowed me to sog up his mane and hang on his neck while he ate his dinner. I guess that's a form of horsey love, not to get irritated if you mess with them while they eat.
Respect was never an issue back then. We were taught from small children that horses were here for us to use and to control. It went right along with responsibility to the animal. We took them in, domesticated them and now we had the responsibility for their well being, to feed, vet and have the farrier out for them because we had taken away their ability to do anything for themselves. For all of that we expected to be minded when we asked them to do something. It just WAS.
My boarder made the comment the other day when her horse was going in to be gelded, "I hope he won't hate me.". ???? We never even thought about stuff like that.
I've noticed a corresponding lack of ability to ask for respect from others, along with the new lack of ability to ask for respect from a horse. When did we become doormats? The same people who can't demand respect from a horse are the same ones who can't tell someone that they are infringing on their personal space, "That would be mean, I can't do that." or "But they won't like me if I do that.". When did we all decide we were so worthless that we couldn't have standards?
Oh boy, here I go, thinking before noon again......that's akin to playing with knives and I'm not allowed to do that either.