Today I decided to be honest with Little Love. The minute I saw her, I told her I really wanted to go out with her on the trails, but that I felt apprehensive about going on our own. I confessed my fear and asked her to be tolerant. I promised to continue being honest and do my best to stay grounded.
Then I saw Becky and asked her if she wanted to go out for a long walk with the horses. She said yes, but since she hadn't had time to ride yesterday, she wanted to trot and canter as well (we all have our obsessions...). This left me two options: a) not go with her or b) go, but put the saddle on so I could trot and canter with her. I agreed to go.
The next thing I did is have another talk with Little Love. I told her how I would really like to go on this walk/ride with Becky, but it would mean she would have to have the saddle on. I promised to stay on the ground as much as possible, but asked for Little Love's patience if and when I had to get on. She seemed to agree. So, I bit the bullet and got the saddle out. Little Love pinned her ears back when she first saw it, but once I put it on her back, she just stood there, even when I fixed the girth (I do this in phases, not at once). I took this as a sign of agreement, since before she always tried to bite. Of course, it has been quite a while since she had the saddle on last.
We were out for 60 minutes, mostly walking. I only sat on Little Love once when we went into this big field to do some canter. I was a bit apprehensive getting on her, after all, it had been months since she even had a saddle on her, let alone a rider. I told her how I felt, asking for understanding from her part. Interestingly she didn't seem to mind me on her back. We walked for a bit and she took the lead, leaving Col behind. When I asked her to canter, she picked it up without a fuss. We cantered about 200 yards and then trotted a bit up hill until we were back on the road. That was it. I must have been sitting on her a whole four minutes. I came off and continued walking by her side. Little Love touched my arm with her nose. Thank you, we both said at the same time.
Afterwards, I loaded her in the trailer. Or actually she loaded herself. Now that she knows all about the food in the trailer, she gets really impatient if I don't let her go in there right away. This time I closed both the back and front bars while she ate her grain. She didn't mind. Little by little I am working towards closing the entire trailer. I also have to work on her standing in there without the food. Becky offered to take her for a short drive, once we have all the pieces together. That would be brilliant. I am so proud of my black mare, she has overcome so much in terms of going into the trailer. I don't think she will ever love it, but if she can learn to tolerate it - that would be priceless.
PS. I heard that some of you have had problems posting comments... I'm not sure what is going on, but I'll try to find out. Sometimes I notice that when you post a comment, you have to press the button about four times before it actually posts it. Perhaps this is what is going on now?