When I started modeling the actions of horsemen that treated things more matter of fact, I stopped having spooky horses.
Now I get horses in with a laundry list of "he won't" or "he's afraid of" and generally it's because of a timid rider, or tentative handling.
Take someone like
who rides many different horses in many different environments...she has video of herself riding through all kinds of spooky things like covered echoing bridges and among jumping Armadillos. Her horses Phin and Raven are not spooky because she is inexperienced, tentative, or etc.
Nor is my mare Amore spooky because of that kind of thing. This is a horse that could race around in a stall for ten minutes because I picked a square of fabric up off the ground and stood there holding it. Even
who speaks of making no concessions for the horse has talked about running across horses that spooked often on every ride. She was just a bold enough rider to keep riding the horse, even if she came off sometimes.
Although I agree some people do treat these horses tentatively, and that can make things worse, I've seen enough of them that are owned by experienced and confident people to know that some horses are like this and it's not the handling. Some of us don't just have a spooky horse, but have lots of experience with other horses that were green, fearful or spooky and we brought them along easily to a level of confidence.
My OTTB is fairly hot and had some huge spooks at times this last year as I started out with him, but these are diminishing rapidly as he gains confidence. My mare Amore never had that ability to adapt.
Sometimes it can't be the diet either...some of us like
and Acadianartist with her horse Kodak have done everything possible to make sure it wasn't a deficiency or diet issue. You can still
see a spooky horse with 24/7 turnout, a stable buddy system, a forage only diet, and balanced vitamins/minerals, magnesium added, and even "extras" tried such as raspberry leaf, chromium, valerian, chamomile etc.
For some horses, this is how their brain works.
I don't see why it would be a problem to just teach the horse to adapt their responses to things if they are unable to get over their fear, as Phantomhorse has done with Phin. This is a workable solution for those who want to use the horse even if the horse does not get better about being frequently frightened. But I also think we have to accept that these horses might not be appropriate for certain owners with confidence issues or who want to do certain things like eventing that the horse might never adapt to.
That is my main point, that people should understand that sometimes fearfulness is a personality trait rather than something that can be trained away or that is due to abuse, management, or rider/handler error. It is something that sometimes needs to be accepted as part of who the horse is.