Gaining trust with an abused horse
A friend rescued a 15 year old QH from slaughter in November. She was on a rodeo ranch most of her life and is exceptionally well trained in western gaming, reining, and cutting. She's also about to have a new foal any day now.
Eventually she started to hate the life she was living on the ranch and bucked every time someone got on, so she was sold a couple of times and wound up in rough stock for a rodeo. When she didn't buck well enough she went to auction. This entire time she was pregnant with the foal she's due to give birth to any day.
This mare has real control issues and responds very badly to telling her what to do. She is very difficult to catch and she will aim to kick as much as possible. She's extremely headshy so she wears a halter in the paddock 24/7. She was ridden once after rescue and flies around barrels and through spins as though terrified for her life. She leads and ties calmly as long as you can catch her.
For the past week I've been working with this mare every morning, sometimes twice a day. I never approach her and always let her come to me. She let me halter her very calmly on the second day when she was in a stall, after 40 minutes of just hanging out and talking to her. Since then I've been teaching her to touch my hand with her nose when I stretch my arm out to the side and giving her half a baby carrot. 2 days ago I added the condition that I had to be holding her halter before she got her treat, which went well. Yesterday I started walking a few steps with my hand on the halter before giving her the treat.
She has become very friendly with me and I can even now pet her head and neck, which is unusual for her. She nickers when I arrive at her pen, and tonight since I have lots of time I'm planning to remove her halter and then have her come to me to let me put it back on.
Any thoughts on next steps? This girl is afraid of everything - a walk up the drive is scary for her. She's also occasionally grouchy with the foal on the way, but I want to make sure she trusts me before she has that foal. Once I've taught her to come and be haltered, what should I work on? Would just walking her around the driveway be an okay way to reduce her nervousness?
Any advice is welcome, thank you!