Today it rained. Which was a good thing, since we really needed some rain. The horses were fairly freaked out, though. As I have mentioned before, Little Love is not used to being outside when it rains, because in her previous life the horses were kept inside during bad weather.
When I got to the barn, both horses were standing in their stalls completely bug-eyed. I took Little Love in the back and she was constantly listening to the different sounds coming from the forest. Admittedly, it sounds very different when it rains! I haven't had to tie her to the wall for such a long time, but today she needed the security of the rope. I didn't even consider soaking her feet, it was not the day for an activity that required standing still with your feet in a bucket.
Normally, had I been by myself, I would have been inclined to go into the arena and not risk getting into a situation with my jumpy horse while walking her outside, but because Becky and I hadn't seen each other all week, she managed to talk me into a walk. The catch was that she was also walking, but without her horse, Col (she never walks him in hand). Col and her had already had a jumping lesson that morning, something Becky likes to do every week, if she gets a chance. So Col stayed home, while we walked the three dogs (my Chai and Becky's two labs) and Little Love.
Needless to say, Little Love was slightly on the edge. But she seemed eager to go, so I figured I could try it. I did my best to control my own mind, which - if I let it - could come up with about a million really bad scenarios that could happen on our walk. It helps to be out with another person, though. Makes me slightly distracted in a good way. Also, the more people and animals are walking with us, the better for Little Love, too. She does well with lots of company.
We walked for one hour. Yes, Little Love was nervous. Yes, she got really fearful a few times. Yes, we met cows four times, two of which were herds of young cows that started RUNNING along side the fence (what is up with these cows? The cows at the old barn were calm and docile). Yes, there was some bolting and panicking. Yes, there were moments when I got a bit scared it would all go to hell.
But, there was also some listening and cooperating. There was also some calm grazing as well as great, semi-relaxed moments of just walking. Little Love might have been afraid at times, but she followed me, trusting me to take her out of the situation safely. In the end, it was all worth it. I can't say I was able to completely relax many times during the walk, but so what. Both Little Love and I were alert, but in a healthy way. And we did it all in the rain! :-)
I really feel that walking outside is something both Little Love and I can learn to enjoy if we just keep working on it. It is true that there are times that I need to be smart and careful. But there are also times when I just have to bite the bullet and go for it. The key is to read the situation and the emotions and see if it is something Little Love and I can handle. I will make mistakes, but then I just have to live with those mistakes (and hope she doesn't get loose from me). LOL.
PS. I'm happy that in Finland the barn will be at the end of a very small dirt road. This in itself will help me mentally, because at least I will know that if my horse gets lose from me, she won't have to cross a busy road to get home. And what helps me mentally, helps my horse.