Okay, the answers to Wednesdays pop quize are probably obvious. Horse A would like to stomp you flat, whereas Horse B is fairly convinced that you come bearing carrots, apples or some other delicacies. Although as Christina points out, it could be a trap. This particular horse has never tried to kill anyone, however. He will fleece you down checking all your pockets for treats, and look mildly disappointed if you fail to produce one, but you are safe. And Daphne suggests that they both might be crazy. I can assure you that Horse B is only crazy under saddle, and then only if a deadly object (such as a boulder or traffic cone) is encountered whilst riding.
Generally speaking, the position of a horse's ears will give you some insight into their current mood. If there ears are pinned back against their neck, they are not happy, and if the situation doesn't change post haste, they will take action. An argument between two horses proceeds something like this:
1. Angered horse pins its ears back
2. Angered horse moves it's head towards the offending horse
3. Angered horse bites offending horse
4. Angered horse kicks offending horse
Now, if at anytime during the above exchange, the offending horse moves off, it all comes to an end, so the biting and kicking phase might never be reached. Humans could learn a thing or two about handling disagreements. Although my efforts to master the art of pinning my ears back has yet to produce any palpable results.
Now I realize that most people are not horse savvy, though the signs of an unhappy horse seem fairly obvious. But, like the car, Americans have a love affair with the horse. Thus, when horses are on display at the fair, they want to pet them and talk to them. And of course, some of them want to poke at them. Like people, horses come in many different termperaments. Our mare Bailey LOVES people. She eats up attention. Other horses are less affectionate, and some get downright mean after being poked and prodded by the general public for days straight. If a horse pins his ears and opens his mouth, he's not smiling for your camera folks. He's thinking about sampling your flesh, and as I can personnaly attest,their is a great deal of clamping force in those jaws.
I took the picture of Horse A while at the Central Washington Fair. Scotty belongs to a friend, and he was none too happy by day three, and just about everytime people came near him, he got that angry look on his face. What amazed me was the sheer number of people who couldn't recognize that it's not a happy look, and would continue to present hands or small children for sampling. Nevermind that there were dozens of attention loving horses in the barns. Fortunately, no was injured, although certainly not for lack of trying.
Oh yeah, if the horse is kicking at the stall door while you are standing there, that's not a happy sign either.