Ok so as I'm sure y'all know by now I'm a co-trainer at a rescue ranch. Well last year we got a Heinz 57 Pony and an Appendix QH that came in together. the QH (Keo) is coming along very nicely and is a dream to work with. He's a little flighty but that's to be expected without knowing his past. His partner in crime, the little pony (Pixie) is also a great little mare except for one thing - she is deathly afraid of anything to do with rope. Whether it be a halter, twine from a bale of hay, a lead rope, reins, or a bridal, she is afraid. She's also a little apprehensive with strangers but with a few treats she is really starting to enjoy being the ranch's new official gate greeter (if she doesn't get chased away by one of the other guys). Luckily she has become quite attached to me and the owner of the ranch and will follow us around like a puppy dog so we can lead her into the round pen and work with her one-on-one. I've been free-lunging her and doing join-up to strengthen our bond and she really loves our time in the round-pen together...until I bring out rope. Suddenly she turns into a flightly, unpredictable, pony. She will try to go through the fence to escape! I've gotten up to where i could place a rope around her nose while she munches an apple wafer but then I tried to slide it up higher and get around her neck and she was having nothing to do with it. I don't want to corner her and force rope on to her as that may highten her fear. She's fine if it's just lying around but as soon as someone pick it up she's outta there! I've taken to free lunging her when she tries to run off and keeping her going until she tires then allowing her to join-up and then she'll trust me again with rope slung over my shoulder but if I make any motion of trying to place it on her she runs off again. I've had her in the round pen with Keo when we're haltering him and leading him around and just doing different excercises with him so she can see rope on him without it hurting him. We've fed her with someone holding rope standing beside her. We've held a treat just under the nose band of a halter so she would have to stick her nose into it to get the treat. All to no avail. Something has happened either with her old owners or in transportation that has scared her way too much. I have a couple tricks I wanna try out on her but if anyone has any suggestion on helping Pixie out I'd love to hear them! I'm at the point where my next move is to just make a lassoo, throw it over her head and let her buck around until she tires out and realizes it aint gonna eat her and then when she's calmed down feed her her grain ration. She really is a sweet pony and you can tell she's really interested in working for us but the fear is strong in her eyes. She's also a very god mover with smooth transitions and will make a nice lil mount for us.