Horses are very good at telling you the history of everything that has happened to them if you are prepared to listen and then you have to do everything you can to look forward.
That was certainly the case with the Connemara pony that we saw this afternoon. He is pretty worried about anyone entering his stable or carrying anything in their hands; he goes off and hides if he can. He has landed on his feet in his new home. Today we started off working on asking him to undestand and accept some very basic rules, designed to keep him safe. He's like a little Lippizaner to look at and when he gives up his fear he has the softest eyes. I was quite beguiled by all his Irish charm.
He wasn't sure that he liked the white rope so I spent time getting him used to it and using it to give him a lovely rub - it's not so white any more!
Foot handling was much easier in the field, ground tied, where he feels he has a lot more choice and then chooses not to use it.
How many signs of potential ambivalence can you see on this page?
If you were closer, you could also observe the eye for wrinkles, or lower lid stretching.