Tonight when I got home, there was the usual cute little Reddums face hanging over the gate in the barn, reminding me that it was, in fact, dinner time, and could I please hurry it up a bit?
The other horses were conspicuous in their absence.
I changed clothes and headed out to start the dinner routine. I tucked Reddums in the stall (to avoid arguments), and got out the alfalfa. Taran, Saga, and Cash were all in the backyard pasture, watching me closely. I called to them, figuring they'd head over, but no. They just stood there.
Since we installed our track system (which I'll have to post more about later), we have a 15 foot wide "track" that goes just inside the perimeter fence. To get from the barn to any of the pastures or hay feeders, the boys have to use a rather circuitous route, which means they get more exercise than if they just walked from point A to point B. However, as I discovered today, they don't necessarily remember that they have to go around to get certain places. The backyard pasture shares a fence with the barn, but there's no gate directly to the barn. Instead they have to go out the gate on the east side of the pasture, around track that goes around the back of the property, and back around to the barn. They have done this before, but tonight at dinner time, their little walnut-sized brains could not process how to get to the barn if they couldn't go directly.
So after putting out the alfalfa, I got a lead rope, snagged Cash (since Taran and Saga usually follow him), and practically dragged him over the the gate on the east side. I then had to shush him halfway down the track before he finally remembered how to get home, and then sort of quickly moseyed back to the barn. Saga and Taran watched this routine carefully, but opted not to follow since dinner was practically right under their noses. I got Saga next, and he miraculously remembered how to get home as soon as I got him through the gate. He took off at a nice (rather sound-looking!) trot, and then cantered part of the way home. Taran, still not convinced, first refused to follow Saga and then refused to be caught. I finally got a rope over his neck and led him to the gate, whereupon he BOLTED for home.
Of course, Cash and Saga had pretty much finished off the alfalfa by the time Taran arrived. Oh well, you snooze, you lose.
So clearly Reddums understands how this system works and has his GPS set to home, regardless of current location or route needed to return. The other three I have no hope for - I'm wondering if a couple of villages are missing their four-footed eediots.
Maybe they'll remember tomorrow?