TJ, I've Ben thinking about your question all morning as I worked with my own two....I think Celeste summed up,exactly what I was going to say....I look for more of a RELATIONSHIP with my horses than lovey-dovey things. Yes, mine will nicker and come to,the fence when I call. I think like children, with the relationship, comes respect! With that respect comes TRUST from your horse, and with that trust they will stand as you groom, carry you through various obstacles, and nicker when they see your car pull up the driveway.
. There's your love.
That being said....relationships and trust do not happen over night. I've gone over twice a day everyday since I've brought JayJay home in June. I do something with him everyday, whether treat his feet, groom, or ride.....I NOW feel like he's beginning to trust me....it was actually yesterday that I passed through the field to work in the woods that he walked beside me and followed me along the fence line.... When he saw me coming out of the woods, an hour later, he came back to the fence line and followed me back. I had zero food!
To see if he was 'hooking up' with me for sure, I would play a game and stop walking...he would stop, I would start, he would.
it's a cool relationship we are building....actually one I'm so excited about we might mention it in book #2 bc it SO relates to children!
( Rainn on the other hand kept an eye on us...but kept eating grass!
she's just like that!)
As for the snack thing...I treat my horses, always have with all our horses.( my family has had them for years.). Sometimes I show up with carrots, apples, or corn husks....sometimes I give them right then, sometimes I wait and give them when I leave...sometimes I show up with NOTHING!
That being said, I haven't ever had a biter, BUT again...I've developed a healthy, respectful relationship with all of my horses and do not allow disrespectful behavior!
As a person coming back into horses, I can tell you you are going to get a LOT of different advice on what is right or wrong.....listen to it all, but ultimately you'll have to decide what works safely for you!
Have a great day!