I have a 7 yr old 1/2 fjord 1/2 QH. He was broke at 2, ridden a little and put out to pasture with no human contact until 5 1/2, when we purchased him. It took weeks for my 12 yr old daughter to gain his trust and be able to catch him. He soon bonded completely with her. They spend hours cuddling and nuzzling each other out in the pasture. He loves to bury his head in her chest and run his muzzle through her long hair. He is low in the pecking order and very submissive with her. He has major trust issues with other people, especially the farrier and vet - though he does allow them to work with him - he is just very nervous. (Though he is naturally very laid back otherwise).
He is her performance horse for 4-H. She does western and english and showmanship with him. But he doesn't get that he can't cuddle during showmanship. For the riding classes he has a little too fast of a canter/lope.
We have started working with him with a trainer to get him ready for fair in a few weeks. First lesson in showmanship she explained that he has to learn that the arena is business and cuddling is for the pasture.
He wouldn't walk with the trainer so she yanked on the chain around his chin and yanked and yanked and made him back around the arena.
He then moved where she wanted him to move, but didn't know how to square up his feet and when he didn't he got the chain yanked some more. When he would move his face toward her he would get bopped in the nose.
Then he was given back to my daughter. He wanted to bury his head in her chest for comfort, but she had to push him away and let him know it is time for business.
By the end of the lesson he was very fearful of the trainer and jumped away when she got close to him and shook like a scared dog.
Now, four days into training, he is totally head shy - tosses his head if your hand gets close to his head, he is not speaking to my daughter and turns his back to her when she goes to be with him, and has started to buck uner saddle.
The trainer is saying that it will get worse before it gets better - just stick with it. He is just testing you to see if you will give in. If we stop now, it is all for nothing.