I thought this would be an interesting thing to think about. A lot of times, horses are sold from one lifestyle into another. For example, they were a lesson horse but they became someone's one-on-one trail companion. That's a pretty big change from a horse's standpoint. Lesson horses in particular (depending on how much they're ridden) don't really get close to anybody because so many riders come and go. And a lot of them are ridden so much that you never get to know their personalities because they're so tired and bored all the time (and probably sick of people by the end of the day). I took lessons at a barn years ago where the horses were saddled all day, and ridden at least three times a day by rank beginners. I would be tired and bored, too, if I was a horse.
When I first brought Victor home, he was passive and stand-offish. He would accept my companionship, but he would never seek it. He was also extremely selfish and lazy. It took months for him to warm up to me. I don't think he had one-on-one attention before, although I'm not sure. It was like he put up a six foot wall of crap between us like he thought I was going to up and leave sooner or later. But once he figured out that I was there to stay, he really changed. He used to dislike men a lot (no idea why), and now he doesn't. And he doesn't run from me in the pasture like he used to. He even comes to me all by himself sometimes. He doesn't pout after workouts anymore, either. Thank God. I used to feel like a total asshole when he did that. Even though he was just being a wimp.
When I was out of town for a week, I came back and both horses came right up to me. I was touched. =D I knew Norman would, but I wasn't sure about Victor. (Hah, you missed me Victor, I know you did.) He's still the eccentric, independent, British aristocrat he's always been, but in a nicer way.
So tell me- have any of you guys had similar experiences with your horses? Did your horse have a different lifestyle before you bought him? And how has it changed him, if he's changed at all?