I'm thinking Little Love has a plan. The plan is that she will continue pushing me to my limit until I give up and just leave her in the field. Or maybe she is just wanting to see where my breaking point is? Or maybe the plan is even more profound than that; she wants me to learn to control my frustration.
Yesterday we did a brilliant walk with Becky and the dogs again. This time Little Love was like an "old cow". She was so calm and composed, it was hard to believe actually. She couldn't have cared less about the real cows, too. It was wonderful.
Then today, we had a brilliant walk for the first 20 minutes. To play it safe, I went for the same loop as yesterday minus Becky and her dogs (she's off to another business trip). I had my dog with me, but that was it. We passed some cows that were actually behaving like normal cows i.e. not running. Little Love was alert and slightly fearful (especially when one of them was in this bush right by the road), but it was all manageable. Well, it was, until we got to the field with 15 bulls. Despite the fact that they had seen us walk by yesterday, the bulls decided to freak out. It was a stampede, I'm not kidding. Fifteen bulls at full speed (I didn't know they could run that fast...) Naturally my horse freaked out as well and decided to take off towards home.
I did not let go. If there is one thing I am NOT going to do, it is let go. I do not want to see my horse running loose towards that big road - ever again. So, Little Love literally dragged me down the road. I was so angry, I can't even tell you how angry I was. This probably didn't help her mental state one bit, but it did give me the strength to somehow get my feet underneath me enough to get a bit of slack on the rope. This gave me the leverage to yank back on the rope (sorry Little Love). I managed to get her out of balance for a split second, which is all it took for me to get in front of her and swing my rope right in front of her face. She stopped and tried to take off again, pushing me aside. I mean, she was really afraid and I can understand that. But, I couldn't just let her go. Nor was I going to get hurt myself in the process of holding onto her. So, we did this interesting back and forth dance of backing up, freaking out, going forward, yanking and rope swinging, stopping, backing up etc. Finally, once we were far enough from the crazy bulls, I managed to get her attention enough that she stayed next to me, instead of plowing off towards the barn. Five minutes later she was back to "calm mode" and despite us hearing Col in the distance screaming for her, she remained composed and attentive, as if nothing had ever happened.
My legs on the other hand were still shaking.
I don't know how much of this I can take. Again I thought that perhaps I should really start putting the saddle on her. I don't know if I could have gotten her past those bulls had I been in the saddle, but at least I could have stayed with her when she took off running. Once she gets far enough from the scary thing, she tends to slow down and get over it. I want to walk with her and I know she wants to walk with me, but dealing with her reactions to running bulls (or whatever else it is) is a little much. She is a big horse. Sometimes I wish she was an Icelandic or an Arab, at least it would be less pounds against my pathetic body weight in situations like this one. Sigh. I'm sure you all are getting just as tired of hearing about these episodes as I am taking part in them. I'm thinking if I could magically remove all these nut.case cows/bulls from the area, things would be a lot more quiet. Unfortunately the cows are everywhere. This is Switzerland.