Once again this morning I watched one of my horse's pasture mates go straight from being let loose at the gate to harassing my horse, who was having a snooze. It was pretty minor harassment today, but it's been happening more often than not lately. My horse has stopped fighting back, even with the younger horses who could be easily intimidated. He's never been a really friendly or dominant horse, but usually finds a horse or two to hang out with, stayed out of the boss horse's way and didn't take crap from anyone else.
I take a little extra care now. When I put him back out and he wants a drink I will stay in the field and keep the other horses away until mine has drunk his fill. I send the other horses away if they come over when I am getting my horse to bring him in.
It's been a gradual shift in his attitude and response to the other horses in the field. More bite marks on his hide sure, but I really see how he's quit fighting the pain in how, without argument, he moves away from any pushy behaviour from the other horses. He was better for a little while after he got moved into a smaller, less rowdy herd but I can see the slide again.
"I'm done," he's saying. Though I wish it were not so, I have to listen and agree with him.