Sunday, January 8, 2012

Looking back, looking forward

Exactly a year ago today I became the owner of the singing black mare also known as Little Love.  Since then I have not only been writing this blog weekly, but also kept a barn diary, in which I noted our every day trials and tribulations.  Here is what I wrote on the very first page:

8.January 2011
Today I became a horse owner.  I'm at the same time both freaked out and excited.  I'm afraid my expectations are too high, but the sensible part of me knows that this will probably be one of the hardest, but most enlightening journeys of my entire life.  Tomorrow I'm moving Little Love to her new home.  I have no idea what will happen after that...
Let the adventure begin!

Well, it has been an adventure and it certainly has been hard and enlightening, so I got that part right.  My expectations were high, yes, but I really had no idea what to expect.  Did I ever really understand how much a horse can and will change when given the right to have opinions, when allowed to live with other horses, when not forced or yelled at or punished?  No.  I think if there is one thing this past year has given me, it has opened my eyes to understanding how humans oppress horses and how this oppression changes the very being of the horse, inside and outside.  Little Love is not the same horse she was a year ago.  She used to be a shadow, a shell of a  (often misbehaving) horse and now she is the real horse, a wise and kind animal with an exceptional soul.  I believe there are still more changes to come, but these changes require her to live and operate in an even more natural environment with as little human intervention as possible.  I hope I will be able to provide that for her down the road, it is definitely my goal.

Last year, when I came back from my holiday in the US, I was met by a frantic horse standing prisoner in her stall.  The whites of her eyes were showing, her face was tense and pained and she looked like she would jump out of her skin any moment.  This was the horse I put in a trailer the next day to start our new life together.

This year was different.  After being gone for over two weeks, I came back relaxed and rested.  I was met by an equally relaxed and rested horse, who was visibly happy to see me!  Melissa made it to the barn before me on my first morning back and when she went to get Little Love from the paddock, she came to the gate over the frozen ground confidently, as if she knew today was the day her other person was coming home.  And of course she knew, since she knows everything better than us humans do.  When to the barn in my car, I could see her head from far away as she stood looking down the road, waiting for me.  The joy of seeing her again, of being able to be in her company, filled me completely.  We were both smiling.

Since I have been back we have finally gotten some snow and I was able to take Lilo on a long walk/ride in the woods with Vicky and her owner.  The horses, who have been suffering from the stormy weather and icy conditions, were overjoyed to be moving.  We walked to the end of the road and then trotted up the hill to the lake, where we let the horses go at the canter.  Lilo was so excited that I thought I would completely loose her in the process, but despite a few bucks and accelerations, I managed to hang on somehow.  We walked back with steam rising off our horses and I swear Lilo was smiling again, she was so content.  She really needed to just let go and run a bit.

This morning the weather was pretty cold (-16 Celsius which is 3 degrees Fahrenheit) and since I have jet lag like you wouldn't believe it, I was up early enough to make it to the barn before the sun came up. Here are some pictures from my walk with Lilo in the cold and crisp winter morning as the sun was rising over the trees.  Bbbbrrrrrrrrrr...
Wooly Mammoth
Sun rising over the field
Walking down the road
What a journey it has been so far and it's far from being over.  I thank all of you who have hung in there and read this blog, commented on it and given us support through thick and thin.  Couldn't have done it without you all <3  Unfortunately because of time constraints, I am fairly sure I will not be writing this blog as much in 2012 as I have in the past, but Melissa and I might pop in every now and then to give an update.  I have decided to take time to focus on my writing on a different level this year and therefore have to put some "projects" on the back burner.  This, of course, does not mean I won't be hanging out with Little Love several times a week - there is always time for my Zen Master!

Here is one more picture of Little Love, looking into the future, as I would like to see it with my human brain.  She, of course, was probably just looking at a car driving on the road on the other side of the field :-)


  1. What a beautiful blog today, K! I remember when you took on the honor of being Little Love's sole guardian, how nervous/excited you were, how different she was. What a journey! She really s a different horse, well... she's actually in her horse body now! I agree with you that if we humans can let our horses have choice, be with their own kind, and let them have their opinions, it's amazing what shows up in place of the "anxious", "flighty", "bad" horse. I see Little Love's journey like a cocoon that opened, and a beautiful butterfly has emerged. A very wise and gentle butterfly, mind you!
    What an un-believable gift Little Love has been given. She is allowed to be herself, something that is her birthright. Yet we humans take away that birthright quite easily and without much thought to how tragic the consequences can be. Thank you K, for your willingness to share your experiences with all of us... that is an incredible gift!

  2. P.S.
    Those photos are gorgeous! I'm moving to Finland! :)

  3. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. Little Love gives us all confidence that allowing horses the freedom of their own opinions and expression is the only way to go!

  4. btw what time does the sun come up in Finland at the moment?

  5. Thank you Shelby and June!
    Ps. June, sun comes up about 9.15 (this is the official time, I don't know when they count as "up", maybe when you can see even a bit of it?) and it goes down at 3.45 pm. Not a lot of day light, I can tell you that. And today it rained again all day, so it sort of felt like the sun never went up :-)

  6. Hi K, there's an award for you on my blog. I thought I'd posted my comment already, but clearly I didn't as its not up. So here's the comment:
    What beautiful pictures! Lilo is a very lucky girl to be in such competent and loving hands. She's come so far in the past year, & we'll miss you and your updates.

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