The first order of business was a search mission around the field to locate the missing fly mask. George followed me on, and the mask turned up near the fence. Rose probably used the fence post to rub it off.
After I had retrieved Rose, George of course wanted to be in the thick of things and, if possible, to interfere. He hovered close by, while I summoned my best schoolmarm manner, admonishing him to keep his distance. After a little while, he did something which I thought was very nice. He turned and placed his hindquarters towards us. I felt that in this position he was clearly taking the pressure off us, and also possibly standing guard. Rose felt relaxed too and stood quietly while I applied her ointments.
The day's next George episode was in the afternoon, when I went out to trim his feet. I brought him out of the field, tied his rope to the fence, gave him a bale of hay to nibble, and told him that his feet were definitely going to be trimmed and no nonsense thank you very much.
He was the best he's ever been about letting me keep his feet up for longer periods of time. I even managed to go through all the required stages on the front hoofs - exfoliating, measuring, marking up, nippering, and rasping (inside and out). His back hoofs were, happily, quite nicely worn and only required a little rasping. After finishing one back hoof, I walked around to the other side and found the other hoof already lifted up and waiting for me.
When I went to wipe fly spray on his back legs (not wishing to be caught in the cross fire between his hoof and a fly), he was annoyed, and I gave him time to relax before proceeding. There is a time to insist - "George, you really don't have to put your foot down yet" - and a time to back off and breathe - "Ok, it's fine to just stand here for a while." I don't pretend to always know when it's time for one and when it's time for the other, but I reckon the important thing is to be aware of both options.
After feet, we had some grazing.
Later, at the time of Rose's evening dosage, George once more lurked close by. This time, when I asked him to back up a little, he sidled away, turned around and bounced his back legs at Rose. This was not the tooth-bared snaky-necked get-out-of-here George; it was a cheeky, almost flirtatious, little kick. I chased him away very emphatically. He drifted back, looking innocent, and kept his distance until I was done.
Then he came over and plonked me into the happy spot, where we stood quietly for a few minutes, breathing peacefully, returning to simple friendship at the end of the day. Thank you, George.
Meanwhile, Bridget discovers a more entertaining purpose for the fly mask.