I first posted in the horse health section about my horse pacing in turnout, as I thought it might possibly be a health issue then. Since then all vet stuff as come back perfectly clean so there is nothing physically wrong with her. Anyway... the saga continues.
Over the last few days she seemed less pacey. She even had a shiatsu session (I know -- my inner Boulderite comes out) which she enjoyed and myself and barn owner thought we found a field she liked.
Today I show up at the barn and she was turned in what I thought was an odd place. Not really a paddock for field but a random part of the yard that was fenced off, except for the path leading to a plowed up field. Weird. She was at the gate looking rather impatient to be brought in but not stressed. The barn owner saw me as I was going to get her and was like, "Don't turn her out there -- she'll pace." I said, "I didn't. I just showed up three minutes ago." The barn owner said she had put her in the field and was perplexed as to how she had gotten out.
We went up and down the fenceline, which was undamaged and checked the horse thoroughly, also undamaged. What we did find was big gouges in the ground where she had taken off and landed. She jumped the fence. She jumped the f&%$£ fence. Part of the fence is about 4' something but because of where it is on a hill, it drops to about 3' something. She had jumped it at the lowest point and also cleared a small pile of rocks that was on the other side of it, giving it a 2' or 3' spread. Clever girl.
It was obviously a calculated, deliberate decision, as she hadn't a drop of sweat on her, and if she'd been doing any running about she'd be sweaty as she was wearing a turnout sheet, nor did she have any mud spatter on her legs or belly. And it's been wet enough that any horse tearing around would be quite muddy. She seemed pretty happy (maybe even pleased with herself) when I brought her in. Not in the least bit freaked out or overly stressed.
I'm kinda surprised and kinda not. In the last ten years she has never so much as threatened to jump out of a field or paddock. Even in a barn where there were cross country fences built into the fences and several of the horses would regularly jump them at liberty and I used to ride over them, she never seemed vaguely interested in jumping at liberty, even though she knew fine well they were jumps. On the other hand, she is very smart and is well able to think her way through something like this.
I think she's making a point here and upping the stakes. "Pacing and looking sad isn't making you people listen, so how about I jump the fence!"
Right. So now what? I'm looking at a barn next week which might be more suited to her.
Obviously if she's jumping out of her bloody field she doesn't want to be there.