Friday, September 22, 2017

Do horses kiss?

No, they don't. They don't "kiss" the way dogs do by face licking, either. Horses simply don't use their lips to show affection, although they can use their lips to manipulate objects in ways we can't.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Can horses detect natural disasters?

There are lots of stories about horses predicting natural disasters. In fact, horses do have a good weather sense - I've had horses warn me about an incoming storm before. They are also aware of earthquakes well before we are.

They aren't psychic - they just have better hearing and can hear distant thunder, rain, or the rumble of a quake before we can. Horses may get very antsy during a storm - wild horses would try to move out of its path as much as possible and domestic ones don't always seem to quite grasp that the barn has a roof on it!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Why do horses flap their lips?

Some horses will deliberately flap their lips while being ridden, or constantly. Why do they do this?

There are several reasons. I knew one pony who flapped his lips when asked to do tedious or repetitive work - so I suspect he was doing it out of boredom. He didn't do it if the job was more interesting.

Some horses flap their lips out of anxiety - it's not uncommon for horses to flap their lips when learning a complex new maneuver.

Horses may also flap their lips after being given oral medication - perhaps a signal of disgust at the lousy taste.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Why do horses like to roll over?

Usually for one of two reasons:

1. They want a nice layer of dirt on themselves to protect them from biting insects , sun or cold.
2. They have an itch on their back.

Horses tend to roll repeatedly in the same spot, and a rolling spot in a pasture can often be spotted by the lack of grass.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Why are horses so afraid of plastic bags?

For some reason, a lot of horses spook at plastic bags (unless the bag is in your pocket and might contain a treat). Why are horses afraid of something so harmless?

The answer is that plastic bags don't smell like animals, but they have a habit of moving on their own. Horses aren't smart enough to understand that the wind is doing it. All they know is that this silly thing that smells funny is chasing them around. And anything a horse doesn't understand becomes a monster to run from - that's just how they're wired.

Friday, September 15, 2017

What is a twitch?

A twitch is a rope placed around a horse's lower lip or, in extreme cases, the ear. Traditionally, it was used to ensure horses stood still for veterinary treatment. Many people now think twitching a horse should be done only as a last resort if nothing else will get the animal to stand safely.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Do horses like cows?

Horses will generally learn to handle being turned out with cows. Horses from cow lines, though, may attempt to herd them (which might not be appreciated by the cows).

A few horses seem to be inexplicably afraid of cows. Also, turning horses out with cows increases the risk of attracting a fly that likes to lay its eggs under the skin on the animal's back - a problem when it's where the saddle goes...