Rebel is a large gelding who I am working with. He had the misfortune as a young colt to have a rope halter placed around his head that was never removed or adjusted, causing his skull to grow around it. As a yearling he had the fortune of having this rope sawed off, and has since been very nervous about having his ears and face touched; he is called head shy, and rightly so.
i have a theory that says our words hold energy that can be interpreted by mere vibration, and so I like to talk to my animals, although they may not speak the language, I think that the energetic exchange of words is able to offer some level of mutual understanding.
I did not know at first why Rebel was so head shy. When I learned the history it made perfect sense and I felt grief for him for having endured such painful constriction, and for having his ability to trust compromised because of it. I spoke consolations to him the next time I approached with the halter, that I'm so sorry for what had happened to him, and I promised him; it's never going to hurt like that again. After I said those things, for the first time he allowed me to place the halter over his ears without flinching. Each time since then he will only accept the halter once I have said these things to him, for two days now. Soon enough I will stop saying the words but still hold the energy of them while I place the halter, and soon enough, no need for any thought about it at all.