I agree with the previous comments...just a few things to add...
But it doesn't feel like we're bonding at all. I know it's only been 2 wks and perhaps I'm expecting more, but it's a bit disheartening when the one thing I've wanted all my life -possibly doesn't want me.
Get this thought out of your mind! Horses want
safety and food. If you provide those, your horse will always 'want' you.
Any other suggestions on getting her to bond/become more affectionate? Does it just take time and if so - how long? Are we talking weeks, months, years? Never? Maybe?
You already answered your question...any of the above. Some horses are much more affectionate that others and/or show it in different ways than you may expect. In any case, for a horse with a new home, herd, and owner, it can easily take 3+ months for the horse to just settle in. Real trust will take even longer. My tip...horse love
routine and hate
change. The more consistant you can make your routine (visits, brushing, feeding, etc), the faster your horse will relax and be comfortable.
I want to bring her a treat with me to the barn but I don't know what she'll like. I'd rather it be something small so she doesn't think it's "food" and nothing too messy. I've been reading on treats and a lot of suggestions were for regular ole items I'd eat that she might like as well. We tried candy canes the other day bc we thought she'd like one. Nope. Neither horse did, tho. She loves the salt lick, so I'm thinking of something salty... but what?
Again, horses like what they know, and anything new, even a treat, can take a while for them to accept. We don't treat much, and like to stay with simple things...only an apple or carrot every once in a while. If you're hand feeding, offer the treat and if the horse doesn't want it, put it in a feed pan with the feed. Eventually most will finally try it. Our youngest mare would snort at a carrot for a year before she actually tried one. After that she'll follow you anywhere for one.
And finally, as you're giving your horse some 'slack' while settling in, remember to not let her get away with any
bad manners. That will set the wrong tone for the relationship and be harder to fix later.