More time passed, and it is only in recent days that I have regularly seen one or more of the horses lying down in the field. This has coincided with the advent of another new phase in George/mare diplomatic relations - they now can occasionally be seen actually touching one another in a non-hostile manner.
Today, I looked out and saw George and Rose resting companionably, a short distance away from each other. Later, George wandered up to Rose, and they had a peaceful interaction. His approach seemed rather shy and hesitant, but he looked happy.
Afterwards, I thought he looked rather goofy and pleased.
I think he must be glad that he finally has some friends, rather than merely companions to live with. He is definitely less anxious these days. His worry over the cold and over food has diminished. He's more subdued. He also may be rather bored, as I don't take him out much these days. (Cold weather and short days.)
It's taken about six months for George and the mares to build up enough mutual trust that they are comfortable touching each other and sleeping in each other's presence. It makes me realize how much patience we as humans should have in allowing horses time to develop trust in us - not presuming they'll be instantly comfortable with all the intrusive ministrations we expect them to routinely put up with.
p.s. Today Bridget was very keen on practicing her zipper technique. She seizes my zipper pull in her teeth and zips it up and down at a great rate. She also enjoyed giving me her foreleg, and playing with my gloves - pulling them off my hands and shaking them and rubbing them on the ground. I keep trying to get her to play moving games, but she won't. She's, like, "Nope, we're just going to stand right here and play." One of the dogs almost inveigled her into a chasing game today, but not quite. It took a long time before she'd run with me on the leadrope - maybe one of these days she'll agree to run with me at liberty.