Originally Posted by jaydee
...You may not feel that you have a bond with your horse that counts for anything but for many people its a very important part of horse ownership
Where do you get that idea? Particularly since I've obviously posted a few thousand posts about Mia, and rarely mention Trooper?
In Jan 2009, a few months after I got Mia, we were going down the street when a guy revved up the two-stroke engine he was working on inside his garage. It gave off a loud, high-pitched squeal. Mia bolted, happily toward my home. I got her stopped, tried to dismount, and she exploded in mid-dismount: half-rear, 180 spin, leap, all when I had one foot in the stirrup and one above her rump. I went flying, and the back injury I got is only now fading away.
As I pulled myself up, slowly, she was racing away. I shouted, "Mia, you $%@&$!" At the sound of her name, she spun 180 again and galloped back to me. I thought I was about to be trampled, but she skidded to a stop, put her head next to my chest, and stood trembling while waiting for me to make the bad things go away. I used her for support in limping back to the house with her.
She already viewed me as "He Who Makes Bad Things Go Away". Yet in Nov 2011, when I hired a professional trainer to work with Mia, the trainer's initial evaluation after 4 sessions was that some horses have very deep fears, and Mia might never be safe to ride. Even a few weeks later, after she decided to treat Mia as an unbroke horse, she warned me that Mia might never be safe outside an arena.
As of now, she is an OK trail horse with another horse (Trooper), and we're working on short solo trips. She has managed to stop within 10-20 feet after covering her hind leg with cactus spines.
If I didn't have a strong emotional attachment to Mia, she would have been sold years ago. The trainer told me Mia was lucky I bought her, because most of her clients would have dumped her at the auction long ago. For my part, she is undoubtedly the reason I became interested in horses. All the other horse riding I've done has been with the goal of getting good enough to be able to ride Mia.
But it is TRAINING that is turning her into a safe, responsive horse. We had the emotional attachment in 2009, but the training done since Nov 2011 is what is making her a good horse. After years of hearing my family tell me to sell her at any price, they now talk about laughing when they caught her doing XYZ. I don't know how long it will take, but I expect in another year or two she will be a wonderful trail horse - safe, responsive, willing, and calm. Since she is 12 now, and might reasonably be ridden into her late 20s, I might be able to ride her on a trail when I'm 70.
Training. Bond. Two separate items. You can have both, neither, or either. But without training, you have an unsafe horse. Unless, of course, you happen to be shipwrecked at sea with a black stallion...