I wanted to start this blog on day 1, but it didn't happen. It has been a fairly crazy four days and between the shock of becoming a horse owner (and the owner of Little Love, no less), transporting the said trailer-phobic horse and watching her stress levels skyrocket at the new barn - I have been completely exhausted beyond another word.
Becoming Little Love's owner was not something I had the luxury of planning ahead, although I have to say that I dreamt of it many times. The reality is nothing like my dreams, which should not come as a shock, but has nevertheless been hard to accept. I'm only human and I would live everything to be perfect from the get-go. She is a horse and to no standard a calm one. This I don't hold against her, as I suspect that part of her behaviour is learned. Of course, horses in general don't do well with new things, they are hardwired that way - it's what has kept them alive for millions of years. But on top of that Little Love comes with loads of baggage. I didn't quite realize HOW MUCH baggage until I took her into a completely new environment. If we ever had an ounce of connection, it was all gone the moment she left her old barn.
Anyways, she is now living at her new barn, which is just a stable with three stalls. In my dreams I had Little Love living in a field with a herd of horses, but since she has been stall bound for at least the past 10 years and hasn't had much horse on horse contact, I thought it would be safer to ease her into the new lifestle, rather than throwing it at her all at once. I think I made the right choice, as even just moving barns was a very stressful event for her.
At the moment there is only one other horse with her at the new barn, a Danish warmblood gelding. He seems like a fairly level headed guy. His owner is the human version of level headed, which suits Little Love and her freak-of-an-owner just fine :-) Good balance, so to say. The two horses are getting along on some level; the gelding is very interested in Little Love and she is only interested in him when he isn't looking at her. Other times she makes sure he knows she doesn't like him. We'll see how it progresses. We are giving the two horses some times, and especially Lilo, since she has lots to take in at the moment. I have to remember that she has lived her entire life in huge commercial barns with up to 80 horses, so going to a small scale stable is a whole new experience. Also, having the opportunity to touch and interact with another horse is something she hasn't been able to do since her foalhood (of course, I don't know what she did as a baby, but I'm sort of praying she had some experiences with other horses. This would be crucial for her now, when she learns to be with another horse again) I can see already that as her stress levels go down, she is able to tolerate more and more contact with humans and with horses, so with time, hopefully, the two can get along enough to be outside together, in the same pasture (at the moment they are side by side with a fence in between).
My other plans include taking the shoes off, which I will start with the back feet. Ironically, Little Love pulled her right front shoe the day I bought her. The entire four and a half years I have known her, she hasn't EVER pulled a shoe, but yet she did that first day. I thought it was perhaps her way of telling me she was alright without shoes haha. In any case, I had the shoer come out and put it back on, since like I said, I'm hoping to take all these changes slowly and not overwhelm Little Love with too many new things at a time.
The first three days were fairly trying, but today, on the fourth day, I see some light flickering at the end of the tunnel. I hope that with time I can resurrect our lost connection and perhaps even find a new kind of connection with this aloof mare of mine. At the moment I am just happy she is eating, drinking, peeing and pooping like a normal horse, as that, too, was not a given in the beginning of this journey. Today she rolled for the first time in her new pasture and even though she was completely covered in mud from ears to tail, I took it as an excellent sign. Hopefully in a few days she'll actually let me touch her head long enough to brush the mud away! :-)