Horses are great animals for many reasons, but if you think about it, they are excellent teaching tools for people. Now I have as much appreciation for horses as anyone, but I am convinced they are not the smartest animals on the planet. They do, however, have great memories. This is one of the main reasons they are such teachable/trainable animals.
As compared to humans, I do not think they have a natural tendency for evil. Example – you do not have to teach a child to be bad, misbehave, etc. That comes naturally. You have to teach a child to be good. Horses will meld into their natural herd setting with or without our interference. We just teach them to do things and act the way we want. Of course, some horses have a steeper learning curve than others, but this topic is more about us as the horse owner than the horses. So, here are a few things I have learned from horses, and what I have learned about the people who own.
* Horse named after spices are usually the opposite – Sugar, Cinnamon, or Honey are more like venom, Satan, and mustard.
*If you see a horse that is shod up front and not trimmed behind – be real careful picking up the back legs.
*Horses with more spur marks on one side are lame on the opposite side.
*If someone hands you a horse named “Flipper” – don’t try to look in his mouth right off the bat.
*Rope horses named after lawn mowers (Toro, Snapper, Murray), any of the Three Stooges (Larry, Moe, Curly), or Diesel are usually great to work on.
*Straight up ranch horses don’t mind pain, they just don’t like being nose twitched.
*The higher the dollar value of the horse the greater their likelihood of being injured severely.
*Horses named Lucky will often die in freak accidents.
*There is no education in the second kick of a horse.
*People who say “My horse doesn’t kick” have never stuck a needle in their leg either.
More to come later. Email me your “one liners” and I’ll put some in the next edition.
Dr. Justin High is a veterinarian and partner in Reata Equine Hospital in Weatherford, Texas. He graduated vet school from Texas A&M University and completed an internship at The Littleton Equine Medical Center in Denver, Colo. High’s years of practice focuses on the Western performances horse. Send any comments or questions to [email protected].