Horses just KNOW. The ears are a good indicator and an early warning signal to their buddies and enemies. My alpha mare may have delicate little Arabian ears, but she knows how to use them. My herd of ten thrive in their established pecking order. The head honcho always has the advantage in a pasture situation at feeding time. He/she will be first in line at the trough and last to leave. They earn that right by being the sharpest tools in the shed. My small 15 year old Welsh Mountain pony gelding is about as even as can be with my 27 year old 15 hand Arabian mare. They have a 100 acre pasture to establish their hierarchy and the others respect their space. In the horse world, at least the one that I observe 24/7, their are no miscommunications. There are no conversations like “Well, it’s probably the bridle that makes your nose look so big” or ” Sarita said that your mane looks like a smurf with a mohawk”. It’s just cut and dried with them. It’s basic survival skills with these guys. My food, my Mom, my barn and your poop smells. The sad part is that our own signals can upset a perfectly balanced herd environment. Whether or not they are kept in a 10×10 foot stall or blessed to be in horse heaven in a lush pasture, just seeing the way you carry the bucket as you sling the feed at them or maybe give a little jab with the pitch pork as you shovel the hay into the manger. They see it in your eyes and they know that you love them ….or you don’t. I have dear friends that are leaving their cherished pets behind and grieving before they say good bye, then there are those who dump them with others to care for them because they would rather not deal with them. It is not enough to have food and water, they need to know that they are loved by you. We have taught them to depend on us. Horses are just as aware of love and hate as a purring kitten or a cuddly puppy. To be continued…….