Why would he see eating as an effort for his benefit? Food is necessary.
Some horses simply do not have a personality.
Agreed. I'm not seeing why this is a hand-wringing emotional issue?
I have 3 horses. Two are total cuddle bugs and one is very standoffish. I accept them for who they are and don't try to force them into some anthropomorphic role I think they should play, in order to feel more bonded to them.
My heart horse despised PDAs, but he had a sterling work ethic and I know had some
sort of affection for me. I don't think he would have pined away if I had dropped dead though, he'd just have found someone else on whom to focus his attention.
It's very dangerous to try and assign human emotions to an animal. I never forget no matter how much I
that they're big, dangerous, flight animals
with minds of their own and millions of years of instincts.
As long as the animal doesn't actively try to hurt you and works well for you under saddle, I don't see the problem.