Melissa and I were at the barn together. We took Little Love out of the paddock for a quick look over and brush, then we wandered down the road together with our dogs and my son. Here is a picture Melissa took of us going down the road past the mailboxes I have been talking about in my earlier posts.
We walked down to the same spot as yesterday, which is at the bottom of the hill, in between the two fields. I suppose it would have been a great day to venture out further, since Little Love was as calm as she ever will be, but we parked at our usual grazing spot and let her have grass. Sometimes I just don't feel like pushing the envelope. I figure we have all the time in the world to venture out some other day, so I'm not in a hurry.
When we walked back to the barn, I took Little Love into the "arena". This is no real arena, but merely a small, square-shaped field the barn owner has fenced in with some of the left over electric tape. It's a little bit down the road from the barn, so none of the horses feel 100% comfortable staying there on their own, but I'm hoping that with time Little Love will learn to relax enough in the area to actually be loose in it. The only catch to this little "arena" is that the field next door is the home to about thirty sheep. You can't always see them, since their field is enormous, but today they had decided to grace us with their presence for the first time. When Little Love saw them, she stopped in her tracks with her head up high. It looked like her eyes were going to pop out of her head. I have to admit, with their head down, eating the grass, they looked like a bunch of rocks plopped into the middle of the field. Except that some of them were moving... I had just given Little Love a piece of apple, and she held it in her mouth without chewing on it, obviously thinking that it wasn't a good idea to eat in case she would have to run for her life in the next three seconds. But, even though the sheep made her nervous, she didn't try to take off. She merely took a few trot steps and stopped to stare at them again. We circled around the arena another time and then walked back to the barn. When approaching subjects like sheep (or any other animal, for that matter) with Little Love, it's best to make it as short as possible. If you linger for too long, Little Love's anxiety usually escalates to the point where she no longer can control her emotions and it's her DNA that takes charge. She can get used to the sheep, but she will need dozens of similar experiences where her adrenaline may be pumping, but isn't controlling her emotions completely.