We have a corner in the arena that is filled with jump standards, poles and something that threatens to eat horses every time they go by. Ashke likes to try and bolt away every time we go around the arena on the right lead. This is not making our canter circles better. In talking with Amanda, she says all of the horses are spooking at that corner AND at some time last summer, there was snake tracks from the barn across the newly harrowed outdoor arena. I was imagining a huge mass of snakes in a burrow in the very back of the corner, although you'd have thought there would be fewer mice if that was the case. We did also see a snake under a tack box in front of Raine's stall, so it wasn't outside the realm of possibility.
I twisted J's arm and we went out to get to the bottom of the "scary" corner issue, because frankly if we were going to uncover a nest of rattlesnakes, I would rather do it in the middle of winter than at any other time. We armed ourselves with a hoe, a rake and a flathead shovel then advanced on the corner. Standards are freaking heavy, and everything was covered with arena dirt. It was a mess. We pulled weeds, raked up bird feathers, raked up jump cups and pins, hoed the ground inside and outside to make sure there were no hidden snake nest. We moved all of the ground poles, some of which had feathers underneath them, and finally found a bird carcass.
No nest of snakes. No badgers. Thankfully. Nothing that should be spooking the horses, scent wise.
We raked up all of the debris and tossed it, then reorganized the standards and poles so they weren't so spread out. During the process, I whacked my right ear with a standard as I set it down. That was fun.
I guess we get to wait and see if the horses are any less spooky.