It's hard to describe the feeling I have when I am with Little Love now, it is so different than it ever was before. When she was at the other barn (and not mine), something that now seems lightyears ago, we had this strange connection. We would hang out together and I felt like she was so sad, so tired, but being with me brought a glimmer of light to her restricted, contained life. And now... she is nowhere near to being a free horse in the sense I understand freedom, but something colossal has shifted within her. What a difference little things can make, what massive consequences something like not having her blanket on all day can have.
There is so much more I want to offer her; the opportunity to live outside 24/7, the friendship of a whole herd, a foal? But for now, I give her what I can. I have lost that old connection, but I'm not sad or angry or frustrated, but rather honored, because it has been replaced by something else, something I don't even quite understand and that is still a seed, carefully planted in the tender soil of a new horse-human relationship.
I go to the barn every day and I muck out her stall. I fill up her water, I feed her, I put her out or take her in. Some people have been horrified to hear this, asking why I don't board her at some other barn where I don't have to work so hard. But I want to do all this work. It gives me peace like nothing else I know. Some days, when I am done working and have some extra time, I take a stool and just sit on the barn aisle while Little Love munches on hay (which she now has plenty of). And I am filled with gratitude towards life.