Did he understand me?

Joined
20 June 2006
Messages
3,196
I was in my field a couple of hours ago checking my little herd, routine, not difficult as it's next to my house and I'm down there at least twice a day. My best boy, an arab who I've owned for nearly 20 years, can be quite offish unless there's a treat or a bucket of feed involved. 'No treats tonight' I told him as he mooched over',,but listen'. I told him that in a couple of weeks some people would come with lorries, there'll be a lot of crashing and banging but he musn't be worried (he does worry) as they'll be here to build lovely stables for the winter, and I'm sorry he's had to live out through some Welsh winters but this year will be different, he's going to be warm and dry. Normally when I waffle on to him he drifts off but this time was different. His eyes went all soft and dewy. He whiffled my hair. He breathed in my ear. And then he rested his head on my shoulder and fell asleep. Riders....I was beyond emotional. He's never done anything like it before. He's my ex endurance horse, we've done 100's of miles together and had all sorts of adventures over the years but this was an absolute first. I just felt he understood what I said to him and the bond between us became much deeper...or maybe it was always there and I never realised? Anyway, just had to share.
 

oldie48

Well-Known Member
Joined
15 April 2013
Messages
6,483
Location
South Worcestershire
Goodness knows how much they understand verbally but they definitely can read our body language and respond to it, perhaps he picked up on your feelings? Doesn't matter though really, does it? you felt a connection and that is all that matters. I've had some experiences like this with my horse recently and it just feels so lovely and so special. good luck with your building, hope it all goes well and the weather stays kind for you.
 

TigerTail

Well-Known Member
Joined
23 November 2011
Messages
3,378
I’m sure sometimes they must get a very clear vibe of our intent even if not the details - had it today with my mare and a. Arse of a driver who tried to ish his way past me and my friend out hacking, coming over the brow of a fly over where he couldn’t see the oncoming transit van.....
He came to a stop so I went to his window and instructed him on how to pass a horse safely and his wife shouted I shouldn’t be on the road unless I could control my horse(all she did was look at him as he crawled past her hind end) so I backed her back in front of his bonnet and waved the now queueing traffic in the other lane past and made him sit and wait - now my mare is often unpredictable and I freely confess there are oh ***** moments but she stood there like a trained police mount whilst all the other assorted vans bus motorbikes and cars came past then backed and pivoted back to our place on the road beautifully - her halo was well and truly shining!
 
Joined
8 July 2010
Messages
14,782
I’m sure sometimes they must get a very clear vibe of our intent even if not the details - had it today with my mare and a. Arse of a driver who tried to ish his way past me and my friend out hacking, coming over the brow of a fly over where he couldn’t see the oncoming transit van.....
He came to a stop so I went to his window and instructed him on how to pass a horse safely and his wife shouted I shouldn’t be on the road unless I could control my horse(all she did was look at him as he crawled past her hind end) so I backed her back in front of his bonnet and waved the now queueing traffic in the other lane past and made him sit and wait - now my mare is often unpredictable and I freely confess there are oh ***** moments but she stood there like a trained police mount whilst all the other assorted vans bus motorbikes and cars came past then backed and pivoted back to our place on the road beautifully - her halo was well and truly shining!
What a completely stupid wench.

Yes and your horse def needs a carrot for that! Good girl.

I am a complete and utter convert to "horse conversations". I was having relationship issues with my mare after backing. While she was away her best friend died. When she came back, after behaving quite oddly, she became mean as anything. I put it down to growing pains etc. We had a strained relationship then someone said "you should talk to her more you know, she's asking you questions". You can imagine what I thought to that :D. One day I was putting some hay in and she was behind me threatening to bite or do something childish and for some reason I said without turning around "I'm sorry she died while you were away, there was nothing we could do, she died peacefully in the field. She missed you terribly and she loved you very much". I turned around and gave her a little scratch on the neck and she was like a statue. I left the stable but she didn't even move to eat her hay. The very next day, she was different. Did not lunge at me over the door or try to bite me. Backed up when asked rather than barge first........ SO strange. We have a very different relationship now. Loads of people noticed the difference and say "ooh hasn't she grown up!".... maybe, but I'd like to think I'd answered her question finally.
 

vmac66

Well-Known Member
Joined
3 April 2015
Messages
1,043
Location
north wales
Dont know about understanding what we say but they can definitely read our emotions. My mare will usually stand and have a fuss for a couple of mins max. My freind had lost her horse to colic very suddenly that morning . I was with her when the horse was pts and it was horrendous all round. I had been upset all day. Was in need of a horsey cuddle and my mare must have stood with my hand round her nose resting my head against hers for about 10 mins. She hasn't stood for that long since.
 
Joined
20 June 2006
Messages
3,196
What truly lovely replies, comments and stories.

Oldie48, thank you, yes fingers crossed for some settled weather for the build (not holding my breath though!).

Hi Fiona, it felt very right to me, I'm sure he was saying 'stables? at last! thank you!'.

Pearlsasinger yes , I could see the pictures in my mind as I was telling him and he was looking right into my eyes as I was talking. Interesting.

Tigertail. Wow! It sounds as though your mare was really looking after you. I wonder if mares can be more inclined that way, more protective. That would be an interesting study.

Tallyho. That's amazing. You told her exactly what she needed to hear. I think they do have deeper levels of empathy and emotion than we often give them credit for, especially if we're just concentrating on the practical stuff, riding, training and so on. I'm defintely going to take more time to have still moments with my horse and exploring how we communicate.
 

SOS

Well-Known Member
Joined
1 February 2016
Messages
1,182
I don’t believe they can understand us but agree with other posters that they clearly read body language and emotion well. However another way to think of it is that this horse wanted to engage with you and perhaps even make you happy - they are clever and must know to an extent what behaviour evokes what emotion - despite not knowing what you are saying. I’d even go as far as saying he wants to make you feel happy/comforted despite not understanding your language... so think how much he must adore you without even knowing what you are saying?

That said I have had experiences with animals were they have seemed to listen, one being a ewe that was lambing in the rain/snow outside. I spoke to her and said she should really come inside where it’s warm and dry. She then got up and trotted inside, into a pen and lay down. I do believe this is 100% coincidence though as the rest of the time sheep do not listen and instead run around like headless chickens :p
 

Woah

Well-Known Member
Joined
16 June 2018
Messages
93
I loved reading all these precious accounts. When my pony 'whiffles' my hair and blows warm air over me and rests her head on my shoulder I feel a real connection. That's special and rewarding. Yes I believe they absolutely understand on a deeper than we can imagine level. Such sensitive beings they are.
 
Joined
1 July 2008
Messages
9,129
Location
Wiltshire
I've had messages sent from 2 of my mares who were foaling, a pony I had on loan was PTS and he came that night to say goodbye. I was in tears a few months ago when asking my mare what was wrong with her, she put her nose on my shoulder 3 times and nuzzled my cheek. My son told my riding mare that his pony was going to her new home a fortnight ago - she didn't whinny when I returned with the empty trailer when she always did so.

Yes, they can read body language and understand. After all isn't that how they communicate through reading body signals?
 

Sugarplum Furry

Well-Known Member
Joined
20 June 2006
Messages
3,196
An update. My beautiful boy has gone.

He was fine in the field first thing in the morning, and at midday grazing with my other two. I went along at 4.30 in the afternoon and he was up by the gate and in obvious pain. I straight away thought colic, now I'm not so sure but more of that in a minute. He kept lifting his off side foreleg and bowing his head down towards it. Odd behaviour, I picked his hoof out in case he had something there, nothing, but he was sweating a bit and tucked up and I could tell he was in serious pain. I put his headcollar and led him around while I called the vet but I could tell he was getting really distressed and shaky. I didn't force him and let him stand. He went down and groaned a lot, a couple of minutes later he appeared have some sort of fit, thrashing and snorting, eyes rolling. The other two horses came over...I hadn't had a moment to put them anywhere else, they started trotting around all fired up. At this point I rang my newish neighbour from along the lane, she's had horses in the past and I couldn't cope with any of it on my own. She very kindly came . I couldn't have got through the next bit without her. Rupert stood up and tried to follow the other horses down the field, he was absolutely all over the place, his legs were barely holding him up but I couldn't stop him, I was also worried that if I went with him he would collapse on top of me. He followed them a little way, they all stopped and he did indeed collapse. He managed to get up twice but his legs were too weak to hold him up and he went down again. There followed a terrible hour long wait for the vet, He made a few more efforts to get up between appearing to pass out. The last time he tried, there was an almighty crack. He'd completely broken his off hind leg. I will never ever forget that sound, it will stay with me forever. The vet arrived 15 minutes later and put him to sleep straight away, although I think by this point Rupert was in a coma and barely breathing or concious.

The colic thing I initially thought he had (sorry riders, trying to be practical here through the tears) I don't think it was. I have a feeling it was something to do with his head. A brain anurism? (spelling) Dislocated verterbrae in his neck?

Whatever. he's gone. He'll never be in his nice warm stable this winter. He's buried in the field next to his oldest friend Lucy the mare, a princess and a prince of horses together. I'm just glad it was all relatively quick, I'm also very grateful to my neighbour who came to support me, she's a star and forever in my debt. All for now. Off to blow my nose again.
 

Crazydancer

Well-Known Member
Joined
26 July 2010
Messages
1,738
Location
Wimborne
Oh I'm so, so sorry. I remember your original post, as my horse sounds a lot like yours, best boy, but not affectionate! I hope in time the connection you felt back then, in that moment, will stay with you as a stronger memory that the one today. I can't imagine how distressing that must have been. xx
 

Pearlsasinger

Well-Known Member
Joined
20 February 2009
Messages
37,181
Location
W. Yorks
Oh I am so sorry. I had a similar episode with a Clydesdale mare. We think that an internal tumour had ruptured.

Thank goodness, your neighbour was available and supportive.
 

JFTDWS

Well-Known Member
Joined
4 November 2010
Messages
20,885
I'm sorry. That's every horse owner's worst nightmare. Whatever caused it, it doesn't sound like anything could have been done to alter the outcome. I hope you're ok - in as much as is possible.
 
Joined
3 May 2007
Messages
16,002
Location
Weathertop
oh gosh, how utterly traumatic. I'm so sorry this happened and I'm glad your neighbour was able to be there with you. from your posts it sounds like he knows how much you loved him, look after yourself.
 
Joined
9 July 2012
Messages
14,849
I'm so very sorry - it certainly sounds like he had a very special bond with you, it must have been appalling for you so I feel for you hugely but I am sure he knew how much you loved him right until the end
 

Snowfilly

Well-Known Member
Joined
23 September 2012
Messages
1,250
I'm so sorry. I'm glad your neighbour was there to help and I hope your beautiful boy is happy across the Bridge.

It may have been an internal tumour, or something like a stroke. Nothing could have changed the outcome.

Look after yourself x
 
Top