Friday, May 18, 2012

happy-linger

I often wonder to myself, is Shyloh a little happy-linger? Does she like this barn, these horses, the people. . .me? Is she satisfied with what I have to offer her? With what we are doing? Is she enjoying herself while learning or relearning how to ride and drive? 
Happy girl?
I wonder how can we, as horse owners, tell if a horse is happy? Horses can't speak to let us know, they don't walk around with a smile on their face, and they (usually) are not seen jumping for joy. So, how do we know?

I guess anyone can Google "how to tell if a horse is happy" and get thousands of web pages and forums with people's opinions/research/whatever on the signs of a happy horse. Licking, chewing, yawning, dancing, head height, ear direction. . .you get the idea. And then there is the idea of thought that if horses get all of their basic needs met then they are happy. If that was the case, Shy would be ecstatic since she gets superb care; good hay, clean water, a nice roomy stall that is cleaned daily, weather dependent (no rain, super muddy/icy conditions for safety) turn out on grass pasture, daily supplements and sugar free treats. 

Is this a happy-linger?
All dressed up and no where to go

Haha! She might not think so, but I do! At least she is fly-free and founder-free! Does this mean that she doesn't want to be a wild and free pony? I am sure she does. But I think she is pretty happy. I'll tell you why I think this tomorrow.

How do you know that your horse is happy? In what ways do they show you?

11 comments:

  1. I'm thinking Shy might just be saying, "OMG... don't let them see me looking like this!" She looks like an alien horse!
    You pose a good question. I'm not so sure my horses know 'happy' but I think they experience 'content'. To be content I think they want the necessities of life: food and shelter (which may even be just a windbreak of trees) and then the niceties of life: coat free from mud and stickers, which would pull and be irritating; no biting bugs; feet that have been trimmed so their joints are experiencing unusual pressure; temperatures that are in sync with their coats; and having a dry place to stand.

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    1. She definitely gets her necessities in life. But I really want more for her, you know? I want her to enjoy herself and me and our barn. Is that a human thing? Probably. . .but I hope not :)

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  2. I think Oscar's happy. He is relaxed around the yard, I know this as he will be happy (there's that word again!) to sleep when people are around, and he will lie down in his stable. He seems to really enjoy his work recently, he has his ears pricked forward and is raring to go. I'm sure if he wasn't happy he wouldn't do this. He is friends with the other horses, they stand the other side of the fence from eachother when they are turned out - which he loves and you can tell by the way he runs around squeeling with excitement when he goes out! I also think he likes to please - he has been beaten in the past but he is such a loving horse :-)

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    1. I think those are great indicators of a happy horse!

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  3. I'm pretty sure pip is happy, only because when she isn't happy she makes it loud and clear.

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  4. Their eyes are a dead give away. Roxy lights up when she sees or hears me. She is alert and focused. She doesn't have droopy eyes, or a glazed over expression. When I first rescued Gideon his eyes were sunk in and he was constantly scanning everything. Now he focuses, and pays attention.

    Also what they do when they are in their stall tells if they are happy. A horse that is pacing, or wide eyed all the time isn't happy. Same goes for a horse that stands in the corner with their head down, and depressed eyes.

    Also having a horse that comes and greets you at their stall is comforting. It's how I know that they like me.

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    1. I addressed the eyes in my next post! Shy's eyes have really softened. No more wide-eyes!
      I wish Shy would greet me. . but unless I have food, she is content to wait for me to come to her.

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  5. I'd certainly like to believe Camryn is happy. I know she makes me very happy and I try to repay that in every way I can daily.

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    1. :)
      I am positive that Camryn is happy! Look at her, she is awesome!

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  6. No horse or human can be happy one hundred percent of the time. We all have to do things we don't like, such as working, getting vaccines, etc. So just because she has to wear her muzzle and learn to use her haunches doesn't mean she isn't happy with her life and people. :) I'd say she is a super lucky horse to have you and that she is definitely happy.

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