Tied her up and groomed her. She's starting to look almost slick and it's only March. Then, for the first time in a long time (second time ever if you count the pull-back disaster last summer) I turned my back and walked away from her tied. I didn't go far or long, just put my grooming tools back in the box and grabbed her food, but she was good. Fidgety, but no disaster. YAY!
While she was eating I took off my jacket and flapped it all around and draped it over her. She wore it on her head for a bit. She just stood there looking at me like she thought I was an idiot. She's worn a blanket, so I didn't really expect that to phase her, but it was a use what you have kind of day. After that I hung it from the end of the hitching rail and let it flap in the wind next to her head while she finished eating. She did not care.
At one point she did kind of pull back... she spooked (it was kind of ridiculous... the mini woke up from his nap and realized he'd "lost" the herd. He scrambled to his feet, screamed for them, and took off at a gallop, and Gossip came unglued for a second), hit the end of the rope hard, gave two good yanks, and shot forward releasing the tension. Then she stood, looking flustered. I really think she's figuring this game out. Hopefully soon we can transition back to a flat halter.
When I released her she uncharacteristically took off calling and looking for her herd, and I got some of it on video. There are icy patches and slick muddy patches... when she takes a few funny steps it's because she slipped. No harm done. It was interesting watching the interaction when she got back with the herd. The older gelding (gelded late) and the senior mare were working her almost like a cow. They took turns turning her back, from one towards the other back and forth, with her clacking her teeth in submission the whole time. I'm sorry I wasn't quick enough to video that as well (I had gloves on and couldn't use my touch screen).