Friday, January 14, 2011

Day 5

What a change in Little Love in just the past two days; the horse I once knew is definitely starting to emerge slowly but surely.  She is not so frantically attached to her new neighbor, Col and she seems much more interested in what I am doing.  Interestingly enough, it is the familiar (even if not pleasant) things that seem to snap her out of her own world into the one we share: the shoer, washing her feet and riding.  She also tolerated brushing, which was out of the question for the first few days, but today she didn't seem to mind it as much.  And when she did, I stopped.  From previous experience I already know that respecting her opinion about brushing will actually increase her tolerance to it. 

I was also really surprised to see how well she coped with the fact that the wash area for the horses is a very tight space.  She doesn't like water on her legs much, but as she was completely caked in mud, I decided to hose her off a bit to see if all was okay under all that clay (it was).  I used the clicker to communicate to her where she needed to stand and although initially nervous in the small room, she stood well and sort of sighed a small relief when the water started running. 

The other observation I made was that physically leaving the property seemed to help Little Love a lot.  Becky (Col's owner) and I went out on Wednesday and again today, and even though initially when you leave the property, she looks around like a deer in headlights, each ride/walk seems to bring Little Love back to her grounded self.   I really believe this has something to do with the fact that riding around the surrounding fields and forests helps Lilo "map out" where she is in space.  It puts our little barn onto her internal map, so to say.  Being flight animals, it is important for horses to know the surrounding environment, in case they need to flee. So, this weekend Becky will take me on some more trails so we really get a sense of the area.  I believe each trip out will help Lilo with her internal "mapping". 

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