Yesterday we had a load of sand delivered. I had arranged for the person to just dump it behind the barn and we would deal with it ourselves. Besides seeing that it was there I didn't think too much about it.
This morning, I opened the stall doors (as per usual) and Irish came out into the small paddock (as you may recall the small paddock has a short corridor that leads out to the grass paddock). Carmen started to come out and then suddenly swerved sideways coming up against the fence.
well that was strange I thought.
Irish looked at her, shrugged (yes horses can shrug but it's more a feeling then a gesture) and moseyed out to the grass pasture. Carmen started to follow and then ran backwards. It was obvious that she was on high alert.
I looked around and then, aha! I realized that it was the pile of sand, aka the horse eating blob that-is-not-to-be-trusted. She couldn't figure out how to get out the field with Irish without going by and she was not following Irish. I was surprised by that.
So now I had a few options to consider.
I could leave her to figure it out on her own. Which she probably would have.
I could halter her and lead her by.
both of those options also could have ended up with her in a total tizzy.
I decided to do something different. As Carmen was heading back into her stall I took a step towards the gate. She stopped and then took a step towards me. I took two more steps and she came right behind me. I made sure that I was taking slow but confident steps. I didn't look at her or speak. I simply walked towards the gate and the corridor to the field. She followed right behind me until we got to the entrance of the field and trotted off. She began to graze but keeping an eye of the new threat. I walked over and stood by the pile and she watched me curiously.
I then carried on with my day.
It was such a small thing- having her follow me by the big scary object with no halter, lead or pressure from me.
But it feels big.