Chance. That's the name I gave my new gelding. With me, he has another chance. A chance for trusting and bonding with humans again, a chance to eat enough to stop his ribs from showing.
We've made great progress over the past two weeks.
He follows me to wherever I take his food. I started holding it at arm's length, forcing him to eat with the smell of my fingers so near. Now I can hold the bowl against my body. Sometimes, he'll even take food from my hand.
It took a couple of days for him to allow me to stroke his head and cheeks while he eats. Now he lets me rub his neck, too.
He still won't let me approach him. I have to wait for him to come to me. He won't let me touch him until the food is profered. Even then, he usually snorts and turns his head a time or two before accepting my touch.
It's not much, but when you're trying to gain the trust of a skittish horse that has been abused by humans, it's a great start.