Once again, thanks so MUCH for the great feedback and knowledge. Before I write the final version I will definitely, absolutely review the grooming techniques so that I describe them well. I want her to demonstrate (to the reader, and to the characters in the story who know the difference) that she knows what she is doing, and has more than casual knowledge.
Samstead: the 'back story' on the horse's being lost is that he was very well cared-for for almost four years before he got out. He was handled every day. Does that change your thought on this?
The first time the girl sees him, he's in a little meadow, at the far end, and he looks at her, watches her, but then slips away into the forest. The second time, she finds him there, she is very patient, very quiet, still, just talks to him gently and sweetly for quite some time, and then slowly and without any attempt to force herself on him, she holds out the treat.
The horse cautiously watches her, then starts to come over, still watching her warily...... and then finally takes the treat. Then another, and another. After awhile, she risks a little caress, then works up to a little more. After quite some time, maybe an hour or so of this, he allows her to brush him.
It "feels" right to me, but then again, I am not a horse person. Any wisdom/feedback appreciated.