This morning, when it was pouring rain, I went for a run with my dogs and we passed Little Love's old barn. Because of the weather, all the horses were inside in their stalls, just like she was less than two months ago. I felt for the horses inside the barn, but at the same time could not stop thinking about Little Love who I knew was outside with Col at that very moment, in the rain. Many things have changed in the life of my sweet black mare, but this opportunity to be outside - rain or shine - is a profound change with longlasting effects. Each horse handles a stall bound life differerently, but Little Love didn't handle it at all after the third day; she always had cabin fever like you hadn't seen it before. After about a week it was so bad that going on a trail ride was nearly impossible, as her senses were so flooded that she would break into a sweat just from the sight of a bird flying by and a dog running down the field a hundred yards away would make her rear, bolt and run back home towing her rider with her. And riding in the arena was not much better, her ex-owner would resort to longing her for days, deeming her unsafe to ride - a fairly accurate evaluation of the situation.
How different life is now, when she can be outside every day! Becky has a family of four visiting from England and the family's teenage girl is very much into horses. Today, while we were soaking the hooves, she kept me company, telling me about the pony she was leasing and asking me all sorts of questions about the hooves. At one point she just looked at Little Love and said:
"She is such a calm horse." I almost laughed out loud. I don't think anybody has ever called Little Love calm. Crazy, hyper, uncontrollable, tense, nervous and fearful yes, but calm - never. I looked at my horse standing loose with her feet in two buckets eating hay and I thought: yep, she is calm.
Little Love's walking continues to be better and Becky reported seeing her CANTERING in the pasture with Col. Wow. She hasn't cantered for weeks, that must have felt good. The boots are definitely staying on until further notice. They look absolutely awful because of the mud and rain, but what the heck: they are helping her move. The worst part is still the hard ground where she takes careful and slow steps, but that is to be expected.
She is also shedding her winter coat like you wouldn't believe it and seems to be quite itchy. The whole time I was walking her, she attempted to go down for a roll, so after about ten minutes I just took the halter off and let her go at it; she rolled four times, twice on both sides. Then she walked a bit more on her own, sniffing the ground and listening to the neighbor's parrots shreeking in the distance and not spooking at my dog who kept jumping out of the bushes every time she turned around. My calm horse. :-)