thank you guys for your kind words!
i've never taken on a horse like this before so its pretty overwhelming... she is really quite petrified of being touched and handled, and even just having a human stand to close to her gives her the willies.
but. we have been working hard on that these last few days. me just standing in her personal space and her trying her best to be fine with it. if i reach my hand out to her like i am about to touch her, she wriggles her skin as if at a fly. and if i do make contact, she starts and tosses her head. her ears actually quiver with nerves. sometimes she stamps a foot and tries to turn her bum on me.
luckily she stables easily, which was something i was very nervous about, but she just follows her food inside, and actually seems to like it in there.
so last night i think we finally had our first breakthrough: after her dinner, i spent a few minutes with her in her stable and then went out riding. when i returned about an hour later, i approached her again, and she didnt turn away from me like she usually does. she let me stroke her neck and cheeks, and then let out a massive sigh (of relief! it seemed), and leaned her head against my shoulder. we stood like that for maybe 20 minutes; me actually cradling her head in my arms at one point, as she seemed to drift off a little.
here is a pic that i took on my phone to show everyone:"look what she let me do today!"
it was really such an amazing moment for me, and really made me feel glad and grateful to have her around.