I have had him for nine days. In that brief time, he's had his feet done, his teeth floated, a wolf tooth pulled, his mane and tail detangled, his sheath cleaned, vaccines injected, and a five-day course of deworming started. I need to bring him back to zero before we move forward.
He leans hard into the brush, eyes half closed. The cross ties were new to him, but he's learned that grooming feels good. My hands touch every inch of him, lift his feet, run along his spine and across his chest. I rub his ears, wipe his nostrils, flick the shedding block in short arcs through his curves. White hairs rain to the ground, rain over my black sweatshirt. He whiffles at my neck, rests his chin on my shoulder. This is the sweet time of convincing him that I will see him often, touch him often, speak to him often.
His eyes light up, his ears tip forward when I approach, but he hasn't yet spoken to me. I know he will, though. They almost always do, given enough time.