As is usual, when I approached the pens all 7 of the horses in holding became very tense and began pacing. When I entered my victim's pen he eyed me cautiously but hardly moved. As I walked toward his haunches he pivoted right and left continually facing me. After only a few minutes he was following me around at a distance of about 12 feet or less. This lead me to believe he could handle more pressure, I started swinging my stick and string in wide figure 8s in front of me as I moved around his pen, the other six horse began crashing around their pens, but this little brown colt simply retreated to a corner and watched carefully. Soon I was flicking the sting over his hips and back while he stood unhappy, but still. The big breakthrough came when I was able to finally touch him with the stick, I rubbed under his mane with the end of my stick for 1 second and walked away. 3 seconds and walked away. 7 seconds and when I walked away, he shook his head, blinked, licked, chewed, and looked at me like "Hey, that was kinda nice, can you do it longer?" Slowly, I inched my way down the stick and soon was rubbing his jaw, neck, shoulder, and chest on his left side with my hand. I found his skritchy spot on his shoulder causing him to bob his head and curl his upper lip in a funny little horsey smile. When he would glance over at me he would jump, startled like he was thinking"Ew, yuck! What am I letting touch me!"
The biggest challenge with this horse will probably be remembering that he is a wild animal and not go rushing through his comfort zones too quickly.
So, I guess we are going to try this and see if he can be ready for adoption in 3 weeks time. I still hate the idea of having a deadline, but this guy looks like he's equal to the task. Readers, be prepared for a blog-storm, as brown colt and I start out on this journey together.