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Glass in the Paddock

Glass-

During a recent private lesson at my client’s well-maintained barn, I began by performing the standard Greeting Ritual with her beautiful 5-year-old chestnut mare. As we discussed the lesson plan, something curious caught our attention.

While chatting, I observed the mare walking down the fence line of her 40x50 paddock, then returning and standing still in a particular spot with her front hooves close together. She looked concerned about something, but it took a bit of time for us to focus on what exactly she was concerned about. She repeated this behavior, walking away and returning to the same spot in the same manner. On her third return, I noticed that she wasn’t anxious, but her front hooves were positioned very close together, just like the first time. Intrigued, I suggested we pay attention to her as this kind of repeated behavior means there is something that she wanted.

We stopped talking and paid closer attention when she quietly moved down the fence again. Upon returning, she stood in exactly the same place, and it appeared as though she was pointing at something with her front feet.

We entered the paddock and walked to the mare. Looking down at her front feet, we realized there were two large shards of clear glass partly embedded in the ground just inches from her hooves. We dug them up and made sure there were no more. I thanked the mare and went back to have a conversation with my client. I explained to her that this kind of communication is normal once they have your attention. Since I had done the Greeting Ritual with her earlier, she knew I spoke some Horse Speak and was eager to share her concern with me.

As we left the paddock, the mare went to the water trough, swished her tail in a downward stroke, which is the gesture for “I’m all done with this conversation”, and calmly began drinking.


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