Join Date: May 2011
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
When I'm trying to bond with a nervous or neglected horse, I make sure to spend lots of time in it's line of vision, just doing normal things. If I'm walking by the pen, I say hello. If I've got some time to kill, I sit down in their area and read a book out loud to let the animal learn my voice. I explain everything I'm doing - "this is a rubber curry comb, and I'm going to rub it in circles over your body. It's okay to be scared, but I won't hurt you." I probably look like a crazy person to others, but I find that horses are calmer if you explain what's going on.
Let things happen naturally. Don't force yourself on her, but appeal to the natural curiosity of a horse. Pretend to be real interested in what you're doing and she'll eventually get so curious that she'll have to come over and investigate. Continue acting really interested and ignore her and she'll come closer. Without looking at her, ask very softly if she'd like to see what you're doing. If you have a treat, show it to her and then offer it to her. If you're investigating a really tasty-looking patch of grass, step over a bit and invite her to take a nibble. If you're holding a halter, hold it out to her and let her check it out.