They have the largest eyes of any land mammal, and can see almost 360 degrees around them. Monocular vision on the sides, binocular vision down their nose. They have good long vision and are excellent at detecting movement. Up closer, they see detail as well or better than humans. Colors are more muted for them. They see red and blue well, green and yellow less well. Their night vision is superior – although they can’t adjust rapidly from light to dark, which is why a horse will often hesitate when going from bright sunlight into a dark barn.
A horse can hear in two directions at once, and catch sounds that humans miss. The ultrasonic squeak of a bat . The footfalls of a cat on soft grass.
They can hear each other nearly three miles away. And they can distinguish between similar sounds, for example a particular truck engine. Which explains why my pony is always waiting at the paddock gate for me by the time I finish coming down that long road that ends at the barn. Horses are very sensitive to volume and tone of voice. And they like music – preferably soft, melodious, and cheerful non-vocal music – although my pony does seem to like it when I sing to him.
Horses have a highly developed sense of smell, and a sense of touch so keen and precise that they can feel a gnat light on their rump.
But of all the horses senses, the one that impresses me most is their extremely acute “sixth sense,” ESP or psychic perception, or whatever you want to call it. Whatever it is, it’s been researched quite a bit and well-documented. It includes not only a homing instinct, but an uncanny ability to sense danger, and to read the moods and intentions of others. As you can well imagine, that’s something that would come in real handy for a prey animal whose principle defense is to run like hell.
Recently, a young woman of my acquaintance was getting ready to head off for college. I’d known this girl since she was about 7 years old, and I suppose I’d become something of a mentor to her. We had many long, long talks over the years about a whole bunch of different things. From cabbages to kings.
She’s quite something. Honest and direct. Adventurous. Not afraid of hard work. And she has a sweet way with horses – even with horses who have been so abused that they won’t let any other human get close to them. I like this girl. It isn’t hard for me to imagine her my daughter-in-spirit.
On this particular late summer night, we sat by the pond watching for shooting stars to streak across the moonless sky, while listening to the soothing mantra of horses munching hay, and the conversation turned toward sex, romance and true love. Was there such a thing as love at first sight? Is there really a “soulmate” for each person? Is there just one perfect someone, one great love in a lifetime? How do you know when it’s THE ONE?
That conversation went late into the night and exhausted the better part of a bottle of tequila. When we had talked it through, she fell quiet for a bit, thoughtful. Then she said, “So never trust anybody who doesn’t like horses?”
“Nope,” I said.
“And never trust anybody your horses don’t like, either, right?”
She chewed on that, nodding her head, savoring the taste of it.
“Horses all seem to like you,” she said.
“Well, I do give out a lot of apples…”
“I don’t think that’s it.”
“Well,” I said,”I guess maybe they think I’m ok.”
She got up and headed for her bunk — she knew I wouldn’t be letting her drive home after we’d put that much tequila to work. She turned back a moment and even in the dark, I could feel her eyes on my eyes.
“I think you’re ok, too,” she said.
She’s a sweet kid.
Me, I didn’t turn in for a while. I stayed up and wrote her this song.
You might like it. And the more you know horses, the more you’ll agree with my advice.
So I thought I’d share it with you.
You can download it here — for FREE.
If you like that one, you might also enjoy my album MANY PONIES. It’s got a bunch of songs that were inspired by horses and what I’ve learned from them.
You can check that out here.
Talk to you soon. Take care.
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