Yesterday and today, with the help of the carpets, I was able to walk Little Love out to the front of the barn to soak her hooves. Getting her to step out of her stall still takes some work, but she definitely is working on coming out in a different manner than before. She WANTS to come out, but she just needs some time to think and to maneuver her feet around.
A month ago I could never ever have imagined putting Little Love's foot in a bucket and expected her to stand there for several minutes and now she can do that with both her fronts at the same time - no problem. She stands like a statue for exactly 20 minutes, after which she is done (seriously, you would think she is the one with the watch!). She seems to know that soaking is good for her and welcomes it as part of her daily routine now. I sit next to her on the ground and keep her company, while she eats hay. Periodically she will lift her head and breathe into my hair or face. Those moments I have a strong sense that she understands I'm trying to help her.
I would like to soak the back feet as well, but they are still a bit of an issue. I had a go at soaking one of the back hooves yesterday. Little Love expressed her opinion about that pretty clearly and managed to crack the bottom off the little silver tub within 30 seconds. I tried a bigger bucket a few days ago, but she sent that flying in her stall. Maybe we'll just wait for the rains to make the pasture wet...
Here's a picture of her feet in the little tubs.
Hand walking Little Love in the arena yesterday was a tad challenging because Becky had washed Col and was walking him back and forth in the parking lot in the sun. As long as he was out of sight, Little Love managed to focus on the walking, but as soon as Col showed up from behind the corner, she became stressed out and started calling out to him (he, on the other hand, couldn't have cared less, which made Little Love more frantic). She also seemed to forget that she had sore feet and jogged next to me a few times. We only walked 15 minutes, but she actually broke into a bit of a sweat; more from stress than the work - no doubt.
All this excitement had backfired on her by today, she was quite slow coming in from the pasture. I soaked her hooves and handwalked her, nevertheless, but she was definitely feeling her feet more than before, even in the boots. After ten minutes of walking I let her loose in the arena so she could roll and decide for herself how much she wanted to move. My husband John (who has been quite understanding of my need to own a certain black horse and spend lots of my free time with the said horse) came out to the barn yesterday to rig up some posts and a makeshift fence that I can set up when I want to spend time with Little Love in the arena in "liberty". The arena doesn't have a fence around it, but conventiently is surrounded by a dense bush on three sides leaving only the one short side open (with a low "dressage fence"). Becky doesn't want anything permanent there, but we agreed on two posts on the corners. I have a good 20 yards/meters of white tape (used for electric fencing) that I roll out and attach to the said posts, creating a temporary enclosure. This works great (thank you John :-)!
Letting Lilo loose in the arena made me think of the "old times" when we spent hours in the indoor arena just hanging out and getting to know each other. Those times were not so long ago, but they seem to have taken place in another lifetime. I think Little Love thought of that, too, as she got really excited when I took her halter off like she used to do before. She sort of leapt into the air and as she was performing something that was meant to be a buck, she remembered her feet and landed back on the ground with this look on her face that said: "Ouch, that hurt". Poor girl, she really wanted to kick those heels up, but just could not. But, hopefully soon she will be able to do that again!