How often do you hear that a horse is “well-mannered”? Probably a lot.
And, I think we all have the same general idea of a well-mannered horse.
But then I started to think about it and decided to compare human manners to equine manners. That’s when I had to smile…
In my opinion, most horses are like Eddie Haskell (LEAVE IT TO BEAVER reference…). They do their best to appear mannered when Mrs. Cleaver (YOU) is looking. But, leave him alone to hang with Wally and The Beav and all bets are off!
THE LIST OF MANNERS CALLED, “Good Old Fashioned Manners”:
Saying please and thank you
Never intentionally embarrassing another
Never talking only about oneself
Not asking personal questions
Not talking loudly
Chew with your mouth closed
Wipe your feet at the door and take your shoes off in a persons home
Ask to be excused from the dinner table
Offer food or drinks to guests
Open doors for people behind you
Do not skip in line
Apologize to someone if you bump into them
Wait to eat until everyone at the table is seated and ready to eat
Put the toilet seat down and remember to flush
Use a tissue when wiping your nose
Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
Make eye contact when talking to a person
Don’t pass gas in public
HMMMMMMM. LET’S BREAK THIS DOWN, SHALL WE?
1) Saying please and thank you
I have one horse in my whole herd who actually says, Please and Thank you. However, if she’s excited, no dice.
Generally, in my humble opinion, most horses might say ‘please’ in that pleading, big-eyed way that is followed by “and if you don’t give me that piece of carrot, I’ll die and it will be all your fault because I’m starving and (you know the drill)..” I call those Guiltasauorses.
Generally, when horses have the opportunity to be given things (and then the opportunity to say Please and Thank You) they are either Guiltasauorses (as stated above) or Seaguiltequines. You know, like those seagulls in NEMO… Seaguiltequines will ask ‘Please’ about 50 times in succession just like those gulls, “PleasePlease, how about now? Please, Please, what’s in your pocket?, Please, what’s in your pocket? Please, Please, Please, Now? Now? Now? How about now? What’s in your other pocket? PleasePlease, Now? Now?… and on it goes until they wear you down. Seaguiltequines.
But mannerly Ps & Qs? Not often.
2) Never intentionally embarrassing another:
They embarrass each other all the time! They take hunks out of each others’ manes and hides. They kick-out and push their buddies totally off balance (which is mortally embarrassing if you are a horse), they take food away, push each other out of the water trough and intentionally dress down any horse below them in hierarchy.
And, if you (human) has ever been dragged around by a horse who isn’t paying any attention to you at all – while other people were watching – well, we all know how that feels!
3) Never talking only about oneself:
Ha! If you have ever been to a horse show, you know what I mean. Watching those peacocks strut their stuff makes me imagine the cacophony of horsey boastings, “LOOK AT ME!” “NO, LOOK AT MEEE!” “ALL OF YOU, LOOK AT ME!” “I’M THE BEST” “I’M BETTER”… and so it goes.
4) Not gossiping:
Well, we all know this is false. For example, if one horse gets a treat one day, all of the horses are at the fence the next day. And, how do you think the word got around so fast? Uh huh. Gossip. A little banter around the fenceline and all of a sudden you have a herd of orphan, starving horses waiting for treats the next day.
5) Not prying:
Ever had a treat in your pocket? ‘Nuff said.
6) Not asking personal questions:
A horse usually greets you (or any horse) with a very personal question, “Are you the boss or am I?” Sometimes the personal questions are more probing… For example, unfamiliar horses might ask a human, “What do you want? or “Why are you here?” Familiar horses might rush up and ask, “What do you have for me?” But, they always ask a personal questions when they greet you.
7) Not staring:
Well, this is simply not possible for a horse. They all stare in the same direction at the same time all the time. It is that prey animal thing. Or, on an individual level, if any one horse sees that you have a treat, he will stare you down until he burns a horsey eyeball-sized hole in the back of your head.
8) Dressing appropriately:
If mud, dingleballs, brittle ends, fencepost bald spots, shaggy half-winter coats, yukpacked hooves, rasta manes and udder nasties are appropriate, then this is true.
9) Not talking loudly:
Ummm. They are prey animals. Talking softly is not in their vocabulary. One word. D-O-N-K-E-Y.
10) Chew with your mouth closed…
Sometimes. But if the item is especially delicious, chewing with the mouth closed is impossible. And, usually the item ends up all over the lips and chin.
11) Wipe your feet at the door and take your shoes off in a persons home:
Oy. Have you ever had your horse walk into your tack room or through the opened back door of your house? Yup. The only time I’ve ever seen a horse wipe its feet was on my show coat.
12) Ask to be excused from the dinner table:
Never. If there is food, they will stay.
13) Offer food or drinks to guests:
Double NEVER. (However, I have had one of my horses who was on a strict diet, be fed by his neighbor horse under the stall wall… I’ve always wondered what he said to the neighbor to get that food…)
14) Open doors for people behind you:
Nope. Horse motto: Run through FAST before the gate closes!!!
15) Do not skip in line:
Again, have you ever been to a horse show? There is a lot of ‘skipping in line’…
16) Apologize to someone if you bump into them:
Never. If they bump into you, that means MOVE NOW or I’M THE BOSS OF YOU.
17) Wait to eat until everyone at the table is seated and ready to eat:
This is comical… A horse would actually explode with anticipation before he could (or would) wait for everyone else to have food before he ate what was before him.
18) Put the toilet seat down and remember to flush:
A horse is either a ‘piler’, a ‘perimeter pooper’ or a ‘mix master’. There is no common rule. C’est tout.
19) Use a tissue when wiping your nose:
This is true if ‘a tissue’ means your shirt…
20) Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze:
This is true if ‘covering your mouth’ means using the human’s shirt, face or hair to catch the sticky bits.
21) Ladies first:
Usually this is true since Mares Rule. However, if YOU are the lady – well, that depends upon if he thinks he’s the boss or you…
22) Make eye contact when talking to a person:
This is totally true. A horse will look at you so intently while trying to get a point across to the human. And, if the human doesn’t get it, the horse will totally give up and stare off into the distance…
23) Don’t pass gas in public:
Is there any other way?
RULES AND MANNERS
So, I guess what I’m trying to say is that horses have their own set of rules that don’t really apply to our world… but to their credit, when they live in our world, most of them try really hard to be ‘mannered’.
I wonder how we humans would fare in their world?