If there is one thing I like to do in life, it is to challenge myself. There are days when I find this trait really irritating, because wouldn't life just be so much easier if I never had to leave my comfort zone? I know there are a lot of people who live like that and I'm sure they are happy. So, why rock the boat? But somehow that just does not work for me. My motto in life seems to be "If you don't take risks, you never get anything." Or something like that. I just can't stop myself...
The weather has completely turned around and despite the fact that it was +28 Celsius (+82 Fahrenheit) just two days ago, we seem to have fallen into a fall weather pattern with rain and wind. So, knowing how the weather affects Little Love, I have had the sense to chill out with my dear horse for the past two days, mainly soaking her feet, loading her into the trailer (shut the back door AND closed the front bar and she was fine!!!) and playing with her in the arena.
Today the weather was a bit better. The wind was still quite strong and the temperature low, but the rain was gone. Maybe this was why I got it in my head that it would be nice to go out for a walk. Being in the arena is sort of boring, even if we are "playing".
I thought about it for a while and decided to tack up Little Love with the saddle. I don't know why, but it seemed like a good idea. I also put on the bitless bridle. I use rope reins that clip on and off, which makes it really easy to walk her with enough rope in my hand, in case she needs space. When I walked down the driveway, my heart was beating in my chest. I told Little Love about my nervousness, describing out loud the sensations that were going on in my body.
When we were on the other side of the road she called out to Col and started a slow jig next to me. Immediately I could feel myself get tense. I acknowledged the feeling out loud, again describing it to the smallest detail. Before I knew it, I didn't feel so tense after all. True, we were both extremely alert, but that was something we both could easily deal with.
One of the neighbors had brought some sheep into a small field on the right - that was really scary in Little Love's book since I don't think she has ever seen sheep close up. I felt her panic mounting, but mind over matter, I was able to focus on my own breathing and she followed me without an incident. If any of the neighbors overheard me (and understood English), they probably thought I had lost a few marbles = "Breath in, breath out. Feel your breath going down into your belly and spreading into your legs. It makes you feel heavy, as if you are rooted to the ground. As if a line is going from the earth into your body and it gives you strength to remain calm..." You get the picture, I'm sure. In some circles this could be described as verbal diarrhea LOL. Little Love didn't mind, she is a good listener :-)
We took the short loop, which we had not taken since the "bulls". The bulls were gone, moved into another field somewhere and there was not a bovine in sight. Fine by me! For the first time in 20 minutes, I actually stopped talking and just tried to stay in my body without having to constantly remind myself that I had one.
When we turned the corner towards home I stopped Little Love and climbed up on her back, thinking we could trot. But after just a few strides, it felt somehow wrong to be sitting on her. So I came down and started running next to her. We haven't done this exercise for such a long time and I had forgotten how much I like it. We jogged about 500 yards in perfect sync, then cut through the field towards home, enjoying some of the lush grass on the way.
What a brilliant time we had, despite the fact that neither one of us was truly relaxed during our walk until we were walking back up the driveway. But that is just how it is with Little Love and me - we are both alert. I don't mind that, as long as I can control myself and my reactions. The key is really to stay in the moment, no matter how uncomfortable you happen to feel. This is such an important lesson for me to learn. Thank you Little Love!
PS. And just for the record... as much as I hate being so damn "happy" to challenge myself instead of staying in my comfort zone, sometimes it really is worth it! :-D