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Horses with senses of humor….what does it mean?



A few days ago I was turning the horses out for the day and I was taking the three minis down the aisle way together…all at once, 3 abreast, to save time….. (and you can envision what a gong show that can be with 3 individual little characters…on a good day!…one of them might be in a hurry to get out…one might want poke around and eat hay sprinkles on the ground and one might want to visit with another horse as we walk by a stall) 

Chance with Truman and Deb

 I had left a white bucket on the floor – It’s the one we use to clean out the leftovers in the feed tubs each day….I had moved it with my foot off to the far left, at the entrance of Ron’s shop, kicked it off to the side, so it wasn’t in the way as I made my way down the narrow aisle trying to keep the 3 little munchkins under control…River was dawdling, Chance was in the middle of the pack and Max was out front. Behind me I heard the bucket slide along the ground (I thought) and said to my myself…”Oh crap, Chance is kicking the bucket…I thought I had it far enough out of the way…?” and by the time our motley group has passed the next  stall…the order has changed….River is now in the middle, Chance is lagging behind (which is odd because he usually HAS to be first….and Max is still dragging me out front for a change, but the sound of the bucket-on-the-concrete-floor still accompanies us… Weird…Why is Chance still kicking the bucket…good thing he’s quiet or like some horses he would be upset at the bucket being in his way and making all that racket…I am now at the doorway on the cement pad leading outside…Chance is still at the back of the pack (obviously I thought because he’s having to kick the bucket out of his way with each and every step?)  And I wiggle the rope to slow Max down and get him under control so I can turn around and look….. And you would have died laughing….

 Here is Mike’s horse, with the bucket IN HIS TEETH….He is carrying the bucket down the aisle way WITH HIM…. “Gonna have it as a snack?!” 

I burst out laughing…..!  Smart horse!  Pretty left-brained there for sure!!  It’s impossible to be angry when the horse was clearly showing how inventive he was…..He was going outside for the day and he was packing his own lunch…literally….!

 Every day I am witness to wonderful displays of intelligence and reasoning like this from my horses.  I so enjoy this. 

 A few weeks ago, my large warmblood was standing with both feet on the edge of his manger looking over top of his wall….!  Even as a foal, he loved to stand inside his box manger on the ground, but now at 16 hands and 1200 pounds, it was a little surprising to come into the barn to see my horse with his head up in the rafters of the roof! 

Lad and his favorite toy...a childs plastic wading pool

Lyric’s father Lad was infamous for his toys and his love of play.  People used to park on the side of the road and watch him play.  His favorite was a big plastic child’s swimming pool…

 Another example… Ruby is a large horse in the end stall and across from her is Bobbysox, a foster mini….Bobby is quite intense and in the beginning, Ruby was a little worried about his sometimes frantic energy.  One morning as I was leading Bobby past her door, she reached over with her teeth and tried to swing his door back onto him, to goose him as he walked by!  That’s a sense of humor.  She knew what she was doing…a little pay-back time. 

 20 years ago before I moved here, my 3 original horses were Mem, Shalann and Andy.  Andy was always the boss- more like a dictator actually and one night Shalann who was always a Houdini, opened up her stall AND Mem’s next door and the two girls left to go out into the field leaving Andy locked inside.  He was pretty ticked that they forgot him.  I think it was deliberate! (Girls’ Night Out)

 Or there was the time I had put the old gelding Ginger into the stall and paddock that belongs to the mini brothers for the afternoon just so he could have a change of venue.  Once he’d looked around, explored all the corners, and was bored…he cleverly realized that the door was shorter enabling him to reach over and upset a bunch of buckets that held brushes and apples…He looked quite proud of his handy work too!  Old fart!  What a delight! 


Ginger admiring his handywork

And sometimes in the morning I might be in Flash’s paddock and I am directing him to stand at liberty on one of his pedestals for a treat and I turn around and find Breaker in the paddock next door standing on HIS pedestal in hopes that I notice him!  You tell me that wasn’t pretty clever thinking?!


And the list can go on but my point is that horses have senses of humor and that they like to play once the other main attributes to well-being are addressed.  For horses, the most important thing is safety….then comfort….and then food (believe it or not…) and lastly play….so whenever I have horses here that ‘get’ into trouble by being bratty, I rejoice….That means that the other ducks: Safety, Comfort and Food are being dealt with and this horse in my barn is content and confident enough to play.  Yay!  And that means I am doing my job looking after them.


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