The opinions expressed in previous entries may or may not express the current opinion of the author.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


As dusk fell after a hot day, the horses emerged from the shade of their shelter to graze in the cooler, fly-free evening. I joined them.

Bridget pestered me for a lot of hindquarter and tummy scratches, backing into me, gesturing with her head, and waggling her hind leg to tell me where to scratch. Finally I got tired of this and wandered off.

George came over and said hello, and I reflected that George, who is the one who most likes comfort, is the one who is the best at giving it. Despite his tendency toward bossiness and grabbiness, he is the one who is the most peaceful with me, often asking for nothing except quiet companionship.

After George had strolled off and I was mulling all this over, Bridget, who had disappeared behind a tree, came back into view and marched purposefully towards me. She took my arm in her teeth - not a bite, not a nip, but a gesture of some sort - and then let go. She walked forward, backed slowly into me until she made contact, stayed like that for a couple of moments without asking for scratches, and then walked off intent on grazing.

Had she read my thoughts? And what did her response mean?


  1. It's fascinating to watch how horses behave once they've figured out you're trying to communicate with them. I have an independent mare who tends to act like she doesn't want/need physical affection--but she really enjoys being scratched. If I ignore her because she's being standoffish, she'll actually act a little offended that I haven't approached her. I think horses who are less demonstrative and expressive get frustrated with our inability to "read" them properly.

    I always worry the neighbors are thinking when I stand behind my mares and rub my arm around underneath their tails! They often get bitten up in the folds between their legs, and it's a lot easier to reach that spot from behind than it is from the side.

  2. Yes - I worry about that sometimes too! Bridget will often lift her hind leg way up in the air and gesture toward it with her head, letting me know that she wants me to scratch high up on the inside of her leg where she just can't reach. The mares all like udder scratches too.

  3. I'm completely baffled by Bridget's actions. I'm interested in reading your interpretation.

  4. I'm baffled too. Bridget is a very interactive horse. She was bottle raised (although with a large group of other foals) and is very human-oriented, and I think she likes to copy people. I believe she uses her forelegs to imitate human arm use. It may be she uses her teeth similarly. She loves action. I'm starting to tell her that I'm a bit fed up with all the scratching sometimes and could she please think of something else for us to do. So the ball's in her court. Ha! We'll see what she comes up with ....

  5. I think she read your thoughts.