Why the word "Bonding" makes me wince! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 231 Old 08-07-2014, 03:03 PM Thread Starter
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Why the word "Bonding" makes me wince!

I cannot possibly be the only adult who winces when I hear the word “bonding” as it pertains to horses.

The instant I see it written or hear it spoken I assume that the person has to be some magical-thinking, horse crazy young girl who has grown up on a diet of My Pretty Pony and Walt Disney horse movies.Usually I’m hearing something like “I’m having trouble bonding with my horse and I’m afraid he doesn’t love me but mommy won’t let me get a new one” or, even worse “Princess loves me and we have bonded so she would never, ever hurt me”It actually makes me cringe!I’m thinking, geez kid this isn’t some lovey-dovey, ‘hearts& flowers’ relationship!This is a 1000lb animal that can and sometimes will throw you across the aisleway or crush you like a bug with no warning.Fortunately I rarely hear an experienced, adult horsewoman or horseman use the word bonding in describing their relationship with horses.

Even growing up a horse obsessed little girl I never heard the word bonding used and understood quite quickly that horses were nothing like dogs with their “I live to please you” attitude.

Heck, I have often thought that if a person really wants to feel unconditional love from an animal, they’d stick with dogs instead of horses or humans!They sure are the only ones running to the door wagging their tails when I come home.And, most importantly they have been selected and bred for only two things: the desire to guard us and our property and the ability to show us affection.A horse is a whole other story.Domesticated to work and serve us, not to be affectionate or loving.

So kids, here’s the hard truth.Don’t be sad because you think you aren’t “bonding” with your horse.They simply don’t think that way.

Yes, a horse will learn to recognize us and many times even the vehicles we drive.They will whinny at us, act excited to see us and maybe ask to be let out but this is not love.When we ascribe human emotions to animals we tend to misunderstand the true nature of the relationship.

At best, we can teach a horse to trust us, respect us as their boss mare and enjoy all the good things we can provide them even if it’s as simple as a treat, feeding or a head scratching.A horse that has been treated badly or is naturally standoffish can learn that humans aren’t such bad creatures to be around and can learn to trust.

Try to accept trust and respect as a pretty good alternative to all this talk about “bonding”.

Last edited by Chasin Ponies; 08-07-2014 at 03:05 PM. Reason: paragraphs!!
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post #2 of 231 Old 08-07-2014, 03:29 PM
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Trying to "bond" with horses is dangerous period. They are not pets. They are work animals.
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post #3 of 231 Old 08-07-2014, 03:32 PM
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I too can stand this "bond". A simple search on Instagram will reveil teens literally SPOONING THEIR HORSES (like laying between their legs) while they are laying down. And they do things like lay under their horse and let them put their hoof on their head or stomach. When asked why they are doing it or told that it's dangerous they already respond that "_____ would never hurt me! We have a bond! " or "your not a real horseman unless you trust your horse and of your not doing this your not a real horse person". Then it's typically followed by some vulgar cursing and name calling...
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post #4 of 231 Old 08-07-2014, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by SlideStop View Post
I too can stand this "bond". A simple search on Instagram will reveil teens literally SPOONING THEIR HORSES (like laying between their legs) while they are laying down. And they do things like lay under their horse and let them put their hoof on their head or stomach. When asked why they are doing it or told that it's dangerous they already respond that "_____ would never hurt me! We have a bond! " or "your not a real horseman unless you trust your horse and of your not doing this your not a real horse person". Then it's typically followed by some vulgar cursing and name calling...
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Or the people on instagram with their horse "hugging" them.

We have media to blame for this. "Black Beauty", "Flicka". Are allllll to blame
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post #5 of 231 Old 08-07-2014, 03:54 PM
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I don't have a problem with the term bond. A bond can be a lot of different things. You can call yourself the alpha mare and do that sort of silly baloney that could get you kill. Don't hate the term hate the actions. As Shakespeare wrote "What is in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet" and as Forrest Gump said "stupid is as stupid does".

I think there are "bonds" that exist between horse and rider. To me a bond is one in which your horse performs an action even though you have miscued or been late in a cute. Think a show jumper who has their rider misjudge striding but still gets them both over the jump. This bond is the result of hours of work and work is the key word. The problem is that some people think that a bond is the result of giving a horse whatever it wants. This gives the rider a false sense of security. To me a bond with your horse is when your horse goes above and beyond what you have asked because you have consistently asked for a behavior. The horse gets it right even though you bungled the request. The result of you both knowing the lines and expectations.
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post #6 of 231 Old 08-07-2014, 04:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SlideStop View Post
I too can stand this "bond". A simple search on Instagram will reveil teens literally SPOONING THEIR HORSES (like laying between their legs) while they are laying down. And they do things like lay under their horse and let them put their hoof on their head or stomach. When asked why they are doing it or told that it's dangerous they already respond that "_____ would never hurt me! We have a bond! " or "your not a real horseman unless you trust your horse and of your not doing this your not a real horse person". Then it's typically followed by some vulgar cursing and name calling...
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You will never be a REAL OLD horseman pulling all that crap, that's for sure.
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post #7 of 231 Old 08-07-2014, 04:02 PM
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I feel like some of what your saying isn't entirely true. Like, yes- all that horse spooning, and hugging, and whatever is just dumb and dangerous! But, I feel like you can have a bond with a horse. Like, yeah. they aren't going to roll on their backs waiting for a tummy rub but they do, in my opinion, love people. People don't breed highly aggressive horses who 'look pretty'. Its unethical. You don't get on a horse without having some level of trust in them. They are our horses and we are their humans.

In my opinion, my horse loves me. If not love, he likes me…a lot! Horses are not just work animals. Chevy is my companion, parter, and best friend and I would have to say that we make a great team. The people who don't feel that way about their horses seem to have a relationship with their horses that isn't even close to as strong as I have with Chevy. They are a part of ALL of our lives and for many equestrians, they make our lives whole. I feel like if you give a horse enough TLC, eventually they will care for you.

Here are horses who have saved their owners lives. I feel that if they save their owners life, they love them at least the teensiest tiny bit. Or at least see them a member of the 'herd' and, ya know what, that's enough for me.

Horses Saving Human Lives?! Horse Heros. | Horse and Man
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post #8 of 231 Old 08-07-2014, 04:12 PM
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I think humans are the ones who need the companionship, not the horses. Horses don't actively seek out approval like dogs do. Horses don't want to crawl into your lap and cuddle. You are NOT that horses companion. You're the thing that feeds it and sits on it's back. Humans are the ones who do all the caring, not the horses.

I don't think horses have the capacity to "care". Caring takes rationalization, which horses don't have the ability to do. They don't have the ability to give two craps about any other animal outside their own basic herd/maternal instincts. That horse would be just as happy without you as it is with you.

Yes horses give us meaning, horses give us a reason to get up everyday, shoot horses even saved my life. But I am not foolish enough to think that they "appreciate me", or even think of me in that way. Even rescue horses, they are happy.....to be fed. Horses don't have the capacity to understand outside their own basic instincts and needs. They just don't.

People fail to realize that horse companion relationships are one sides relationships. YOU are the one who needs the horse's company, that horse would be just fine without you. That horse doesn't care for you, it's only used to you. It's nice to think that horses give back the compassion we give them, but it's simply not the case.

The most bonding you ever get out of a horse is when you have a horse really tuned in. The horse knows what you expect when you expect it and behaves accordingly. Now THAT is the kind of bond I like. A horse that respects me and listens.
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post #9 of 231 Old 08-07-2014, 04:36 PM
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I'd like so see The Black Stallion pulled from shelves. One young gal of 12 had this idea she could "tame" my big gelding. She was taking lessons but no matter what I told her about equine behaviour she tuned me out and seemed to think she knew better than I. One day said horse nipped her. The timing was wonderful because I was about to tell her I wouldn't be able to teach her any more. The nip was her wakeup call and she was then willing to listen to what I said.



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post #10 of 231 Old 08-07-2014, 05:32 PM
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When I see the "b" word here on some thread….I picture butterfly farts and unicorns. What a load of carp.

I think this is what some horses think of the "my little pony" syndrome.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iq6S4T7QcDI

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