Today I went for a walk in the afternoon. To throw my theory from yesterday completely off, Col decided to have separation anxiety. Interistingly enough Little Love didn't really react to him calling in any way until we got into the middle of the field. Then she got really nervous, called out to him (it echoed back to her from the forest which really seemed to freak her out) and actually tried to turn to go home three times. The third time she got really frustrated (because I wouldn't let her go) and reared and then leaped forward with a buck. It wasn't a 100% serious try, because if she really wanted to, she could just pull me over and leave, but it was impressive in any case. After she landed the buck, she spun around me her eyes fixed at the barn in the distance and I realized I needed to get her attention and fast before she truly decided it was time to go home.
I started running down the field and she followed me in extended trot. At first it was sort of out of control running, she sort of pushed on me with her shoulder and I had to really run to keep up with her, but once we were on the real road, there was more sense to it. We ran the same way as yesterday, but faster, I was really sprinting with her. Twice I had to ask her to slow down, just to make sure she still remembered I was there with her.
The interesting twist to this is the fact that she had a saddle on her. I put the saddle on because I wanted to see how she would react to it. She hasn't had a saddle on for 6 weeks and frankly I think she has enjoyed that. I haven't exactly decided to ride her, it is something I want to explore, hence the reason I put the saddle on. When I tacked her up, she was alright, but in the very end, she pinned her ears back and turned her head towards me. No surprise there. But I do wonder how much this rearing/bucking ordeal had to do with the saddle. It could be that she was also expressing her opinion about that (I'm actually thinking it surprised her to have the saddle) I never had the intention to ride, I was wearing my running shoes and had a rope halter with a rope on her. But the saddle was there, nevertheless. I do think it triggers some sort of dissociation from her, with the saddle today there was less contact between us. But I could also be reading too much into the situation. Perhaps she would have been like that today regardless. There is no way of knowing. I just have to keep experimenting.
In any case Little Love is definitely feeling better, because she is quite "alive". Which is how I know her, from all those years of riding her when she was not my horse (and the reason her ex-owner didn't want her anymore). Even though she was quite "crazy" (in the traditional sense) for that short moment, it didn't scare me. Which is also interesting. Perhaps I'm evolving, too?
The trot we did was impressive and finally when we turned to go back (uphill) I had to ask her to walk. She wanted to continue, but enough is enough. I didn't want to trot her too much on the hard ground. And I needed a break. Once we were half way up the hill, she was pretty tired, too. Took a lot of energy to be so excited, I guess. So we came back to the yard in a very calm manner. I would like to try a longer loop, but now I'm not sure it's a good idea with all this separationg anxiety going on. Or perhaps it wouldn't make a difference? Who knows. I guess the only way to find out is to try, right? :-)