Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Day 53

When I want to change something about myself or figure out a new solution for a situation, there are two things that help me process the issue; talking about it and writing about it.  Yesterday I wrote about my anxiety concerning handwalking Little Love outside and the effects of the written word could be seen today; right from the beginning I was much more relaxed on our walk.  In fact, I don't think I have ever been this relaxed walking with her.  Naturally this had the same effect on her; she remained alert, yet significantly calmer than yesterday.  She was still snorting and breathing heavy every time we passed a house, but she kept her cool and was more curious than anything else. 

Twice we got into a pickle, once crossing a small field and the other passing a huge garbage can.  Little Love tensed up, lifted her head high and sort of scooted forward, the whites of her eyes flashing.  I immediately started jogging forward, not in a panicky sort of way, but rather like I was just out for a relaxing run (I run about 4 mornings a week so running is natural for me).  This could have made Little Love want to bolt off, but instead she matched my pace - which was quite slow for her huge stride - and jogged next to me.  Both times we jogged maybe 30 yards and that was it, back to walk, calm and collected. 

I was quite proud of both of us by the time we got home.  I might be a bit slow to evolve at times, but I think there is hope for me to learn how to stay in the moment :-)  With a teacher like Little Love, how could I fail!  I'm going to hold this feeling in my heart for the next five days when I am away on a short trip.  I won't be seeing Little Love until next Tuesday, which at the moment seems like weeks away.  Luckily Becky is home and will be taking care of her.  She will get to hang out with Col in the pasture every day and be as muddy as she wants, something I'm sure of which she will take advantage! 


  1. I don't know how to ask this question, but here goes. I wonder if you had more confidence with and about Little Love before she was actually yours. Am I right, and, if so, why has that changed? I ask because it seems you worry a bit more now, separate and apart from the trauma with her feet, etc. I mean you seem to worry about you being good enough for her, right enough for her, right in the way you are handling her. And if I'm nuts, you can just say that too.

  2. No, you're not nuts, I think you are onto something. I have actually been thinking about that, but maybe haven't made the connection so clearly to the time she wasn't mine. But there is definitely a connection. When she wasn't mine, I couldn't always do what I wanted with her or what she wanted, because we were bound by other things and expectations and environment. So I didn't really expect that much either, if that makes sense? Now I can do what I want and what she wants, and maybe it's a little unnerving? I rode much more when she wasn't mine, now I don't want to ride so much, but if I don't ride, then these other things, like walking with her, need to work. Or do they? I guess by saying they need to work, I'm setting my self up right there... hhhmmm. Need to think about this more.
    One thing I have changed (and haven't mentioned) is the fact that I don't ever tie her anymore. Even when I wash her in the little washroom where there are cross ties, she is always free. Also when I soak her or groom her. Sometimes I even leave her there and go off to get something. Usually she doesn't move. But she has walked off a few times, especially when she is done soaking. I am working towards not using halter at all, but first I need to let go of the fact tht she will not always go where I want her to go :-) Which is okay. This is a big step for us, since at the other barn I did not have this freedom to choose to NOT tie my horse.
    But yes, I think I do worry about being enough, as horses tend to bring us to face that question over and over again. Am I good enough? I'm perhaps trying too hard to be perfect...
    Thanks Muddy K for the question, it was a very good one.

  3. Thanks for your reply. There's a lot there, and now I have another question (which I hope you answer in a post, because I think others may also interested to hear about it.) What is behind your decision to stop tying her altogether, and then progress to no halter at all?

  4. Yes, that is an interesting question, especially because I'm working my way BACK (sorry, no italics) to tying. Not that I ever stopped completely. But for trimming, I tried to dispense with it, and now I've come to the conclusion that it's easier for everyone if I set up an expectation that I need to you stand here for a while now without me having to be find clever, other ways of asking you to stand.

    That was a very astute insight in your first comment, Muddy K. Having ultimate responsibility for Little Love must change things. Something of the sort I think happened when I adopted Bridget - I used to just go and visit her as a friend, and then all of a sudden she was mine, and I started to think I had to DO something (even if that doing was not doing, if you see what I mean).

  5. I should say I don't like cross ties - I'd never encountered cross ties until I came to the U.S. I just use a single tie.

    For grooming and tacking up, best is a relatively confined area, where the horse is free to move but not take off into the sunset.