What pleasant surprises abound!
I experimented with the herd yesterday, letting Kacee, Rusty, Prince, and Sofia out on pasture, and keeping Bo and Soli in the larger winter paddock. I did this after watching Bo play buddy games with Soli over the gate a couple of times when he went under the fencing that is meant to leave a No Horse Zone between the two paddock areas.
They did fine together, so much so that I put them together in the smaller paddock for the rest of the day and through the night, leaving Sofia with the others when I brought them in from the pasture.
Here is proof of this latest nice surprise:
I wonder if his increased comfort with the other horses has anything to do with his generally more relaxed manner. That I attribute to his increasing clarity about what I expect and what I offer him, and perhaps that is bringing out some new behaviors. What do I expect? At times not much, but I do spend time right away when I have him haltered, helping him let go of his worried thoughts and then engage him in some simple activity, thinking all the time to notice his tries and his successes. So he's feeling good about what he can offer me, good about what he's learning to do to get along. It was very sweet yesterday when I was trimming him, those moments when he felt safe enough to let me put his foot back on the ground, rather than his snatching it away and slamming it on the ground.
These kinds of changes mean a lot to me, and I suspect, to him as well.