Chloe and I have been trying to spend time alone together, but she is still reluctant to venture outside the field by herself, and she feels pressured by the others while inside.
Late last night, I put treats in my pocket, picked up a flashlight, and went into the field to visit the horses. In the dark, I couldn't see anyone, but as I opened the gate, I heard a soft nicker, and Chloe came towards me.
The other horses were nowhere to be seen, and Chloe and I spent a long time together. I gave her some treats and scratches. Then she found a little pile of leftover feed nearby and ate it up while I sat beside her.
My eyes adjusted, the moon became bright enough, and I turned off the flashlight. Chloe dozed a little, and we just stayed quietly. After a while, she woke up and started pawing at me. As in the past I taught her to "shake hands" in exchange for a treat, I took this as a request for me to share the rest of the contents of my pocket. I gave her a few treats-for-handshakes, got her to do her spinning-in-a-circle trick, then gave the rest of the treats gratis. After she knew the treats were gone, she started giving me her foreleg again; so I'm not sure if it really was a request for food in the first place.
Finally, a growing rumble announced the approach of Bridget, George and Rose. Chloe bustled off in their direction to, as I thought, rejoin the group. Not so. She was trying to drive them away, especially Rose. Her animosity to Rose is strong enough to slightly compensate for the size differential, and the psychological pressure was enough to keep Rose at bay.
I walked down the field with the Bridget following me. We stopped, and she kept giving me her foreleg, over and over again. It can't mean, "Please scratch me," I don't think, because she'll start doing it even mid-scratch.
Chloe came up too, and the three of us stood, with Chloe scratching Bridget's neck, and me scratching Chloe and Bridget at the same time, and Bridget scratching me. Then it was time to head home.
My daughter appeared at the kitchen door: "Mom, where are you?"
"Are you crazy? It's midnight!"
Well, only a teeny little bit crazy.