If yesterday was a disaster, today made up for it in every possible way.
Last night I was just too upset with myself (if you could tell from my last blog post, talking about taking dogs behind barns and shooting them in the head and what not...) to really take in everything that had happened, but this morning I went running and after sprinting around the country side for almost an hour, I felt a heck of a lot better. Running helps me center myself and when I'm out there in the elements, it is the perfect time to reflect and do some soul searching. By the time I got to the barn I was in a completely different place than yesterday.
First thing I did when I arrived was apologized to Little Love for being so insensitive yesterday. She was hanging out with Col in the pasture, but when she saw me, she walked over to me. The moment I saw her, I knew we were alright. Horses are such brilliant animals, they really don't hold stupidity from the previous day against you the day after. I gave her a banana for being so brilliant.
It was a gorgeous day and after soaking Lilo's hooves for over twenty minutes, I put the boots on and we took off for a walk. Becky and her husband were off skiing in the mountains so I left Col in his stall and took my dog with me. Little Love was a bit reluctant to leave at first; she stopped three times during the first 500 yards. She wasn't calling to Col, she was merely looking into the distance, scanning the horizon. Each time I just stood there with her, not asking for anything, just waiting until she was ready to continue walking. Which is what she did after about a minute or so. I never felt nervous or impatient, but rather was just going with the flow.
I hadn't really thought too hard of where I would be walking, but once we got down the first hill, I cut across the field and stopped at the small gathering of trees to let Little Love graze a bit on some new grass. Then we continued until we came up on a road that boarders a large forest. There we met an older lady who was walking her dog. She was very impressed with my black horse and we stopped to talk for a while. After the initial small talk the lady asked me point blank why I wasn't riding my horse, but was instead "walking it like a dog".
"I prefer walking with her," I said in my broken French.
"You can't ride her?" The lady was really curious.
"I can, but walking is better."
The lady smiled. "Why not, eh?" she said. Exactly, why not. Then the lady wanted to know about the boots and I told her what they were for. She seemed to think my explanation made sense since she didn't ask me why Little Love didn't have shoes. When we went our separate ways, I marveled over the fact that she had asked about the riding. It is interesting how people always think you have to ride your horse.
We continued our walk down the road and Little Love was the calmest she has ever been on a walk with me. She was alert, as usual, but never fearful. We even did a bit of trot on a long stretch where the ground was soft. I ran beside her, matching my steps with her (or was she matching hers with mine?). This is something I only ever dreamed of... I love running and always wanted to do it with Little Love, but every time we tried, she would get freaked out and end up dragging me down the road. But not today. I only wished I had not worn my barn boots... This became obvious when we started heading up the hill and did another short trot. Short because after just a little running I had to ask for walk. Running uphill with boots on is not exactly easy even if I'm pretty fit. Next time I have to bring my running shoes!
When we got almost to the big road before the barn driveway, we met Becky and Col who were going for a ride in the forest. Becky and I talked for a while and I let Little Love graze. When it was time to leave, she walked home with me without problems, but the tranquil mood we had been in during the walk was gone and she called to Col a few times before we reached the barn. The second I put her in her stall, however, she calmed down; her stall is her safety zone where she knows nothing bad can happen to her. It is sort of ironic that a horse who hates confined spaces and often panics if forced into one (and I'm not talking about just the trailer, but any space, even if it's built from poles and other jumping material), feels so secure in a relatively small stall. But perhaps the stall is the only place in the world where bad things have not happened to her?
What a day. It was as if yesterday never happened in Little Love's book. Talk about staying in the moment. But that is exactly what I had vowed to do today. I had a plan of soaking the feet and taking a walk, but I had also decided that I was not going to get too stuck on doing either of those things. And look where it got us! We soaked for 25 minutes (she stood like a statue, even when I left her in the yard loose while I went to the bathroom) and walked for 40 minutes. And what a walk! I never thought I would get to run with Little Love without her taking off ahead of me, but we did it today. We also had the best walk we have ever had; we were walking together, I mean really together, instead of in our separate worlds (me in my worry-world thinking she will freak out and her in her freaking out world, feeling insecure) Not once did I feel scared or worried or anxious.
Now the question is; how do I do this again?