Yesterday Becky and I went out together with the horses. I put the saddle on Little Love for the trot and canter parts, but I also wore my running shoes so I could walk most of the loop. We mostly walked for the hour we were out, but managed to squeeze in two short canters and a trot. The horses got really excited with the second canter down a short field, I wish it would have been a longer stretch so we could have let them really go.
Today we had planned to go out again together, but Col had pulled a shoe last night in the pasture (again...). I decided not to let that faze me and saddled Little Love up like planned. I don't know why, but I felt like we needed to go out again, just the two of us. From the first moment we went out the gate, I was "in my zen", staying in my body. It wasn't so hard this time and Little Love's calm demeanor made it a lot easier to stay calm myself.
We took the same loop as yesterday with Becky and Col. The horse flies are now out and within ten minutes I was wondering if going out so late in the morning was such a good idea. I couldn't help but think of all those times in her "previous life" when Little Love became agitated and nervous on a trail ride because of bugs (she would just frantically run off). But then I brought myself back to this moment and to the one truth I swear I will live by when it comes to this horse i.e. "If it isn't happening now, it isn't happening." So, I didn't turn back.
There were moments when it was nearly intolerable, but somehow we managed. I broke a branch off a bush and helped fend the biggest horse flies off (some are the size of small birds, and I'm not kidding!). I could tell Little Love really appreciated the help. In fact, I think the fact that we were battling the bugs together sort of took her mind (as well as mine :-) off other things, such as the cows that had once again changed pastures and were now right by the road. She barely looked at them. I certainly didn't have time to look at them. We made it around the whole loop and half way through a cloud came in to cover the sun. And the next thing we knew and a little breeze picked up, which took care of some of the bugs for a while. It's amazing how big of a difference a little shade and wind can make. When the sun came out again, we were almost home. We both were sort of done with the bugs, so we ran up the hill side by side, stopped to cross the road and then ran up the drive way all the way to the gate. Phew. We were both sweating by the time we got to the barn. I took the hose and sprayed Little Love, myself and all the horse flies with water! Little Love used to hate being wet, but now she seems to like it. I hadn't even thought about it until today when she stood loose in the yard and I took the hose at her. She just stood there, licking her lips, obviously content. Who is this horse and what did she do with the Little Love I used to know six months ago?
Tomorrow I'm going to the barn as early as possible when it's not too hot. I think we won't go out for a walk, but perhaps play in the arena for a while. Or maybe just soak the feet. The weather is supposed to change again and perhaps we'll get some rain later in the day, which would be a welcome change. Little Love and Col are spending most of their days in their stalls (their choice, since they have free rein of the place, but it's the bugs...) and I have been trying to talk to Becky about putting them out at night. Today when I brought it up over the phone, she made no comment. She doesn't even change the subject, she simply just doesn't say anything. So it's really hard to know what is going on in her head. But I do know that the thought freaks her out. Unfortunately. She still has a blanket on Col at night, which I frankly don't exactly understand since it is really muggy and hot. She did inform me that she left the other barn door open last night, which is an improvement and tonight she put the two horses out after "dinner" for a few hours until it got dark. Which is a start. I don't think she knows anyone who has ever put their horse out at night, because usually in the traditional sport horse world horses are in their stalls when it's dark. So this is really about the fear of the unknown, I suppose.