I often like to sit in the stall with mine as she eats her dinner. This can help them not alway accociate you with work. Horses out in pastures eat next to each other all the time. So being with them while they eat has been effective for me.
Believe it or not a horse does not look for someone to brush them, or pet them, cause it doesn't happen naturally. To them it's an added bonus. Your horse looks for a strong leader. No horse can function properly without one. Gives you something to think about. :)
Spend time with your pony. Take them on hand walks. Brush them. Find their scratchy areas. I do lots of groundwork and just play with mine. She is a very in my pocket mare. She loves to be around me and my family. I love it! Good luck and have fun 😁
I 100% agree with Dereck. Spending lots of time with your horse is the key to any solid horse-rider relationship. Do things like groom your horse, practice simple in-hand and ground work for a few minutes outside of your normal practices (things like walk, trot, halt, etc.), and get to know your horse's quirks. For example, my horse Sun likes his butt scratched and he likes me to pet his nose while I brush his shoulders. I like my horses to trust & like me, so I make sure to give them ample reason.