My stallion is perfect - an absolute gentleman, and a wonderful rider/breeder.
My mare, however, is a PMU rescue that we acquired through a trade with a friend. She is very sweet, wants to be loved and petted, but is deathly afraid of people. She's not aggressive, just very very flighty - rather than pin you to a wall while she's in her stall, she'll get in the corner with her hindquarters to you (though never kick).
She's never really been worked with until we got her. I procured her mainly as a rescue from the slaughterhouse, only to find out that she throws colts that are built like dozers. Her first foal (since we've had her) is standing at 14 hands and is only 7 months old. Mind you, the sire is percheron/paint. He's only 16 hands.
Now, my question is this: we've been working with this mare for two years steady. We're just now able to put our hands on her halter while she's standing still in a stall. Am I doing something wrong that is preventing her from accepting us? Am I going too slow? Are there any tricks that will help her to trust me? I've been standing with her while she eats, we can pet her neck and shoulders, but nowhere else.
When she had our colt (our now 7 month old, "Preacher"), we did something that really seemed to help - we have two stalls side by side with a barrier between them made of iron. We separated the baby so that we could imprint him (she wouldn't let us near him at first). We separated the two (with her being able to see him, smell him, and nuzzle him through the barrier) for two weeks. She was more accepting of us taking him away after only three days.
After two weeks, we could walk up to the baby in the pasture and pet him, love on him, etc. And, after she was comfortable with us handling the baby, she seemed more enthusiastic about getting closer to us on her own - if we're feeding, she'd get close enough to try to stick her head in the feed bucket, or when she's drinking water (outside her stall, in the open pasture) we can now pet her on the forehead.
I just feel like the mare wants to be petted and loved on, but she's still too afraid to "ask" for it or to "accept" it unless it seems like it's forced on her (which I won't do; I can't force affection on anything or anyone).
Does anyone have any ideas on how to get her to understand love/affection?