So, Col is on a mission to free himself whenever there is a chance. Yesterday morning he crawled under the chain of his stall again. This happened right after I got there. I was talking to Becky at her front door and suddenly, in the middle of our conversation, we heard Little Love calling for Col frantically. When I ran to see, Col was gone. He had seen the open barn door and crawled under his chain. Poor Little Love was left behind, wondering why she wasn't allowed in the pasture.
Today, when I was soaking Little Love's hooves, Col was standing on the other side of the gate that closes off the gap between the barn and the garage where we keep the feed. This gate has a handle, but is also tied off with a simple bungee, to make sure it stays closed. I went inside to put on my running shoes (we were going for a walk) and when I came back, Col was backing into the gate and pushing it open. The bungee chord was stretched to its maximum length and was about to snap any minute. The gate, on the other hand, was a foot open.
"Col, what are you doing?" I said. He stopped and looked at me sheepishly, then walked off. To give him the benefit of the doubt (he could have been scratching his butt, after all), I let the matter go. Two minutes later, he was at it again, backing into the gate and stretching the bungee.
"Col!" I called out to him and he stopped. I ran to get some bail twine and tied off the gate. Col watched me from under the tree. When I went back to Little Love (who was watching this all unfold, would have loved to know what she was thinking...), Col was already at the gate, checking out my knots with his mouth. He then turned and backed into the gate again, just to test it. Here is a picture I took of him with my cell phone. At this point he is not longer pushing on the gate, just thinking about his next move! I felt bad for him, because I know he really wanted to go with Little Love and me, but I couldn't take him as I knew Becky was coming back in an hour and was planning to ride.
Little Love and I went on a walk again today. By the time we got down to the edge of the field, she was pretty hyper, calling to Col (whom I locked into the barn, completely paranoid he would get out and follow...). She was so high, I couldn't consider going into the field. So, I walked straight on, down the road. We had done this yesterday as well, and she had eventually calmed down, but today she was definitely more anxious to start with.
It tdid take a while for Little Love to calm down. She was still calling to Col (although sort of half heartedly) when we were ten minutes away. When we got to the intersection at the bottom, I was hesitant. I really didn't want to set myself up for failure in the field. So, I chose a right turn instead and went up the hill on a paved one lane road. Becky and I had once been up there a while back and I was fairly sure I could make a loop that way.
It was a good choice to take a new route, Little Love settled down significantly. I stopped and let her eat some grass. As you may remember, grazing can go either way when we are out; it can completely freak Little Love out and snap her into a total frenzy, or it can calm her down. Today it calmed her down. So, we made a deal to walk ten minutes and then graze five, then walk ten again etc. Good deal. Little Love accepted and we had a brilliant 45 minute walk with intermittent grazing. We were both happy!
Today was a good day overall. When I first got to the barn, Little Love was visibly happy to see me and tried to come into the barn. I told her I had to muck her stall first. She sighed and went into Col's stall (he was outside) and hung her head over the wall and watched me muck out. When I was done, she followed me outside to the maneur pile. After, she was eager to come with me through the barn to the other side for the hoof soaking (didn't need a halter). This is the first time I really got the sense that she was looking forward to whatever we were going to do. She was eager to be with me. Or perhaps it was just the fact that she was showing her emotions. Maybe she has been eager before, but it hasn't been so obvious as she is sort of reserved when it comes to showing positive emotions. Has she ever even had the chance to do that before, safely? I don't know. Any demonstration of positive emotion from her part is always very, very subtle, in fact, it is often so subtle that you can easily miss it if you aren't paying attention. Today it was less subtle. To see that was priceless and I can't even really explain how I felt about it, it filled me with such wonder.