So when I was reading sale ads for horses, dreaming of owning a giant beast, occasionally the term, "Husband Horse" would come up, as a positive trait in the horse.
Basically this means that the horse being described is so well behaved and amiable to a complete idiot riding him, and therefore, can be trusted with one's idiot, er, husband. I jest! I guess because it seems in the horse world, unless a guy is out there making a gajillion dollars a month on training/rodeo/dressage/whatever, (think Monty Roberts/Clinton Anderson/Ken McNabb, etc) he's not into horses at all. Therefore, he must be relegated to a boring, bombproof, and reliable mount.
So, one day while perusing CraigsList, I mention this term to my husband. Would Husband ever consider a horse of his own, at all? I got a shrug of disinterest, a "I dunno", and nothing else. I asked him if he'd ever consider riding with me. He said, "Sure!! On my motorcycle!" hm.
Where am I going with this? Well, I suppose I could describe Altivo as a husband horse, but really, he's an anyone horse. Oh, I got sidetracked again.
Ok, here's the story-
I was on the phone with my sister one day, who isn't really into horses, but she mentioned to me that she'd like to ride Altivo someday. I told her that could be arranged, since he puts up with me on him, I figured he probably wouldn't notice a difference in the horsemanship level between her and I. Well, I hung up the phone, and turned around to see my husband looking at me. I looked back. I asked, "what?" His facial expression didn't give much away, but he said to me calmly, "I've never ridden Altivo."
Of course he'd never ridden him, he never asked!
So last weekend, I plopped my helmet on his head and told him to hop on. He did, and he meandered around on mah pony.
Would you know that my stoic, unaffected, food driven horse was watching me for direction??? Holy My Little Pony, he kept his eye on me the whole time, almost asking me, "hey, is this what I should be doing?"
He didn't stress, he listened to what Husband was telling him to do, but he still kept turning his head to watch me....and at one point, I went around the side of the arena, out of sight, and Husband reported that while Altivo still followed his directions, he kept his eye on the corner where I had disappeared.
So I guess that's what horse bonding feels like? I wasn't sure he had even gotten attached in any way to me, as he never nickers at me when he sees me, he doesn't seem to "perk up" or get excited when I show my face, unless I have food in my hand, and even then he just wants to relieve me of it by any means necessary.
But to know that he looked to me for direction was a wonderful feeling- I hope our bond grows even stronger!!
As for the Husband- He's not into riding, but I will say that he does go to the barn with me occasionally, and helps me groom and tack up so that I can ride. And I think I'm ok with it that way....Some days that I ride by myself, I have a chance to be in my own mind, focus on the horse, and even occasionally, just sit up on that big guy and we zone out together, him almost dozing off with me laying on his neck. It's a good place to be.