Now I marvel daily at just how expressive they are–I just had no idea, back then, how to read the nuances of the wrinkles above their eyes, the pucker of their mouth or chin, the angle of their head.
And they communicate so clearly, once you learn to read them! Here’s a case in point:
We’ve had a dreadful fly season already this year, and the horses have been pretty miserable. Fly spray seems to be more of a condiment than a repellant for the little menaces. Several of the horses are wearing fly masks 24/7 by now. I didn’t have them for any of my guys.
The other day I went to the pasture to get Nevada, who normally whinnies and moves right over to meet me. This morning, she didn’t come, though she saw me right away. She was standing with one of her girlfriends about halfway down the fence line toward the woods, and there the two of them stayed.
I walked over, wondering for a moment if there was something wrong. But no, both horses were just fine. Nevada, though, had something on her mind.
She looked at me, then pointed her nose at her friend’s fly mask, then looked at me again; she made that same gesture three times, just in case I missed her message the first time. “I want one of those.” She could not have been more clear about it.
So, of course, I went and bought her one. She’s never had a fly mask on in her life, but as soon as I showed it to her, she stuck her head right in, ears and all, and gave a big sigh of relief.
So who says horses can’t talk?