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.