Some horses just aren't trusting. My Dad's horse Pokey is one of those, he doesn't like to be fiddled with or groomed or petted. He behaves best when you just get on and put him to work. If you try to pamper him or play with him, he will start getting all snorty like "What in the world are you trying to do here?!" You might try just giving her a job instead of trying to be her friend, that may be what she likes best.
I had a colt that was very much like that...even as a foal, he wasn't one to be fussed over. As a 3 year old he was happiest being brought out, ridden, and put back to eat. He was never affectionate, and not from lack of trying...he just didn't enjoy it. Trust is one thing - respect is another though. Whether a horse likes to be fussed over or not, they need to respect you as the leader.
You can try the umbilical approach, I have seen it done with untrusting dogs...
All you do is take her everywhere with you, when you are running around the farm doing chores and stuff take her with you. Always keep her within a few feet of you when possible and touch her and treat her as much as possible. Let her see that people are good, that is good to be around people.
Maybe make yourself her only companion, make her bond to you (if you are able to spend a lot of time each day with her, if not then she needs some other company like a horse or goat or something) that way when she sees you coming she associated it with company and fun.
If that does not work you can always try a join up type thing, there are plenty of books and videos you can find over it...
IF THAT DOES NOT WORK, she probably just does not like people very much and nothing you can do will change her mind, best to just treat her as she wants to be treated and not expect her to be very affectionate.
I agree and disagree. I think no matter what horse personality or past, a horse can be trusted. It will just take alot of time and patience. You just need to learn how to work with an independent horse. I think the more independent they are the deeper the bond you can get with them is.
My mare rena is like that, it took her trainer (before we bought her) 3 HOURS to get her to eve think about joining up.
But with rena its not really a trust issue, more of she's just independant. Even now (after about 6 months) she's just starting to show effectiion to me. Soeimes it just takes a longer time with some, and some just arent people horses (har-har)
You are not the only one, you are actually lucky. Some people go through a dramatic experience with horse where both horse and rider are traumatized. Then neither can trust the other and the longer they weight the harder it gets.
Last year I was with my horse in a very busy arena, about to leave! There were about nine horses crammed into a small indoor arena, all flighty from a long break. A green horse with a bad rider spooked at a noise from snow falling off the roof and bolted, obvioulsy making the other 8 horses bolt. My horse came crashing into me as he ran past me and knocked me to the ground(luckly I wasn't trampled. One rider was trampled and one had a concussion. My horse, being extremely fast slammed into the side of the arena and jumped out and slid into a wall. It took 30 minutes to catch all the horses and mine was last. He had a complete spaz being left alone and reared up a lot. No one helped me bring him back to his field which was far away and on the way he bolted and dragged me through the snow. He ran a km down the rode to another pasture and took 45 minutes to catch. Five months later he was "normal" again and stopped spooking. That was a year ago and only a month ago did we start trusting each other again. That's how I learned to trust a horse. I learned to understand him completely and ultimately listen to him. The most important thing to do is do something you are comfortable doing so the horse doesn't feel you being nervous. Start on the ground. Bring out your horse and let her do what she likes. Work based on respect. Always listen to her. Be confident in everything yourself or the horse will have no reason to trust you. Why would you trust someone not confident in themselves. Never thing "she might not do it" or "it won't work" have a mental thought of "it willwork, there is no other way, it just will".
1)(roundpen):Free lunge her at whatever pace she wants (walk, trot or canter). Talk to her while she goes around you and watch to see if she focuses on you. If she is distracted put a halter on her and lunge her with a lunge line so she doesn't get stressed by feeling alone by calling out to other horses. When she is in tune with you and the atmosphere is peaceful just stop and look down and bend your body away from her as to draw her towards you. Just wait for her to come and as soon as she does reward her with a treat. Walk around with her and when she is bent towards you and follows you, reward her. This is not a join up, it doesn't force the horse to come to you, you are inviting her. A join up gives the horse no choice but to come to you-that's force, the horse doesn't want to so he doesn't want to be with you.
2)(roundpen): you are going to confidently lead your horse into scary situations, it especially works after the first exercise. Set up a tarp at one end of the round pen and without thinking it is anything special walk over it(with horse in arena but not on lunge or lead=free). If she follows you when you do this then reward her. Then put on a halter and leadrope and walk her around the roundpen(not on tarp), and then withouth thinking anything is different just walk over the tarp. If she doesn't follow don't pull. That will make her shut her brain from work and pull back and away from you. Just stand on the tarp and wait. Every step closer she takes reward her. If walking over it was no problem then don't worry about the second long part.
3) scary stuff on the horse: If she freely walks over the tarp following you then this is the next step. Putting the tarp on her. Always draw her towards you. Start by just touching the tarp to her shoulder and then move it over onto her, keep rewarding her. If she needs to move take the tarp off and let her move in a circle around you and then when she is calm try again.