Tonight I went down to the stables just to say hello to Sharlie and Casper because it was already getting dark. There was a huge party going on with loads of little kids running around screaming, jumping and worrying Sharlie and especially Casper. After they followed me over the hill after I went to go fetch them, Casper gently took the hood of my jacket and held on needing contact with me. I walked slowly and he didn't let go until I stopped. Then he started licking me nonestop. At first I was scared he was going to bite me, but then I noticed he was fighting against going catatonic. So I stayed next to him and stroked him, ignoring all the kids that came rushing up and tried to bother us. Soon Casper didn't need to keep licking me, he just had to have his nose touching me. He followed me around, and finally, with my guidance and reasurement, he was able to go up to the gate and let the little girls pet him. He did lose his confidence several times, but he fought against going catatonic to stay with me.
It was so amazing I felt so warm and amazed that this little horse trusted me to protect him against the kids. However, I have learned my lesson and will be putting up a sign on the gate tomorrow saying "Please do not pet/feed the ponies! Thank you" for the party tomorrow. I don't want to put him through it again.
Feeling all warm and fuzzy