Becky is gone on a business trip and I have been getting to know Col better. He is an interesting character and in my opinion, slightly troubled. His behavior and body language reminds me of Little Love four years ago, lots of pinning ears back and making big gestures. I haven't exactly had a heart to heart with Becky about this, as it is her horse and her "journey" so to say, but when I have interactions with Col (and I do, periodically since I have to take him in from the field, wash his feet, change his blanket etc.), I try to listen to him and respect his space (but at the same time follow Becky's wishes for his care). It's a balancing act, but there have been moments where my reaction (or non-reaction) to his antics has sort of surprised him.
In that light, it is curious too to spend time with Little Love, who now seems to be more at home at Becky's little barn. She still has not laid down at night, but other than that, she is functioning like she functioned at her previous home. Or perhaps she is already more positive? She does not really have the need to pin her ears back, except when she tells Col to back off. But our human-horse interactions are filled with gentle curiosity and kindness. Even brushing is alright now, although she will probably never like it in certain parts of her body, but we can negotiate these areas together by respecting each others opinions (meaning: I don't brush excessively, and when she tells me she is done, I stop and do something else. I can always come back to it later, right?)
Today when I took the horses in from the fields, they were pretty bothered by some loud noises happening on the other side of the road. I was struggling to keep them calm as I approached the gate and finally simply opted in letting Little Love go (and follow if she wished) and dealing with Col, who doesn't exactly pay attention to small humans walking him in, even on a good day. I held my ground and without touching him, got him to stop and notice me, which helped. Little Love was really nervous, but she followed and listened to my voice, when I asked her to stop and wait or go onto Col's other side. I was slightly surprised at this, as this is something we have worked on in the peace and quiet of the indoor arena, but never under stress like today. Despite her worry, she was able to listen and follow my signals. I thanked her for being so cooperative when Col wasn't.
Tomorrow Little Love's old owner is coming for a visit. She wanted to come and see how the mare is doing and check what sort of a place she is living at. I have mixed feeling about this visit and am trying to find my "zen" before it (this lady and I are very different and definitely have differing views of horse care...). I'm sure we'll have a pleasant time, but I'll be happy when it's over and done with! I'll have to tell you all about it tomorrow :-)