Sadly one of the down sides to the domestication of most animals, including our beloved horses, is that by the very nature of humans taking care of them ..... they never grow up, and most of us have Peter Pan horses in our paddocks due to this.
This means that because we feed and care for our horses, they never develop into fully functional adults, such as horses do in the wild.......and it's this that makes the difference with feral , or wild horse development ....who feed and care for themselves from an early age within the safety of the herd, that shapes and modifies a lot of your horses behaviour.
Anyone who has ever worked with, or even domesticated, wild or feral horses, such as kaimanawas, or mustangs etc....will confirm that they don't spook like our domestically raised counterparts do-and aren't normally as suspicious or flightly etc...and this idea promoted by the media of wild being crazy is normally the exact opposite in truth, as wild horses are on average are a lot braver, and calmer than their domestic cousins.
Plus they are extremely intelligent adult animals capable of a lot more than some of us give them credit for, hence the 54 million years of successful evolution that they have on us .
So what can the average horse owner do to help with this:.......
Well we can try to understand that our horses are not grown ups, as well as keep domestic foals with their mares for much longer, and allow the young horse to develop both physically and mentally through interacting with a herd, as without the guidance from the dam, or other herd members in the formative period the foal rarely develops correctly.
A classic example is many hand raised foals turn into absolute brats, so being with the horses mother for the first 0-12 months is really helpful in preventing negative behaviours, which sadly we witness with many domestic rescue horses, who have been taken from their mothers too soon, as well as those who live without other horses.
Another crucial lesson for every horse handler to learn is that Horses are a herd animal and need to be with others of their own kind for both mental and physical well-being.
So if you take this into account that your domestic horse is not a adult, and behaves the way s/he does because of this stunted development due to domestication, this will help you understand his or her behaviour better and lead to a better understanding of their mind too.
We totally appreciate there is rarely any alternative to domesticating horses, but as along as we try to apply nature to the horses in our care as much as possible, and with how we treat them and what we do with them etc....we can all raise happier horses........which is why we call our organisation Natural Horse :)