Why does a nicker – aimed directly at you – feel so good?!

I was away all weekend because we had a death in the family…

Hubby was very gracious and stayed home to take care of things while I flew out of town – Hubby also fed the horses.


This morning was my first day back for feeding.

My usual routine is to let the dogs out, put on my barn coat and barn shoes, then open the front door and emerge for the morning feeding ritual.

Weeeeeell, this morning, as soon as I put my foot forth on the front porch, I heard a cacophony of nickers!

Horses:   Hhhhhhhiiiiiii!

(If you haven’t heard a nicker, well, that is too bad because nickers are the best.)

Everywhere I turned, there was a horse nickering.

I felt like a Rockstar in the middle of the best encore – ever!

They liked me, they really liked me!  (aging myself with this reference)

I KNOW, I KNOW, they just wanted food…

Yes, I know.  They are only nickering because they want me to feed them.  And they are excited because I feed them better than Hubby does…  (…or worse,  depends upon who is judging…).

You see, I fall prey to all of their charms – like nickering.

Hubby doesn’t even notice.  He just feeds according to whatever chart I’ve given him.

Hubby:  OK, mares are fed.  Check.  Ponies are fed.  Check.  Finn’s group is fed.  Check…

I’m sure the whole time Hubby is feeding, the horses are going above and beyond, trying to get his attention for extra treats, all to no avail.

It must be very frustrating for them…

But not when I’m feeding.

Today, the RockStar Feeder was IN DA HOUSE!  And they let me know!

It was great.


For any of you who don’t have a nickery horse, first of all, be happy because nickering is incredibly sweet but also very difficult to ignore and therefore an easy ploy of a manipulative horse –  not that I have any of those.

For those of you who don’t have a nickery horse, the nicker is a low rumbly sound that emerges from a horse’s heart (or at least I think it does) and comes out past his throat and out through the nostrils only.  No mouth involved.

I have several horses that have perfected the nicker.  I’ll tell you about them…

The first to hear me emerge from the house are Slick and Dodger.  (Actually, the first to hear me with her magnificent ears is Norma Jean, my donkey.  But, she cannot nicker so…)  Anyway, tiny Dodger is usually the first to flirt with me.  He has a very stalliony/manly nicker.  If I was a ShePony, I’d find him rather enticing.

Next is Slick who has a high-pitched nicker (poor guy) that sounds rather demanding – figures.

Next I hear Finn.  Finn’s nicker is so loving and warm…  Wrigley tries to imitate it but he sounds very throaty and studdy.  He’s got some work to do.  BG’s nicker is quite soft.  She is usually drowned out by Finn, which also figures.  Poor Girl… always in the background.  Once I am better, I vow to make her my premier riding mare.

As I move down the path, Bodhi and Remi will call to me (they are very competitive with each other).  Bodhi’s deep, hansdome rumble is close to what I think a bear might sound like if he was purring.  I’m surprised that he hasn’t snagged a mare from Rojo.

Remi’s nicker is frenetic and curt.  That doesn’t seem possible in a nicker, but if you met her, you’d get it.  She’s a girl who wants what she wants when she wants it – which is usually just previous to NOW.

Sam nickers the entire time but in a very polite and demure way.  She is such a lady.  I just love her.

Gwen nickers while she runs for the poll position.  So really her nicker sounds more like an engine as she races to the best spot.  She’s a smart one…

Rojo doesn’t nicker – yet.  Or maybe he never will.  He’s the Boss and the newest Mustang.  Nickering to a Human is beneath him.

Last but not least is Mama Tess.  Mama’s Tess’ nickers make me want to cry.  She is so loving and so effusive with her nickers.  This girl nickers from the moment she hears me until the moment I leave the barn – in-between bites, of course.

Now, I know that Tess nickers to get the most food out of me as possible… but … I also know that she nickers to me when I finish wrapping her feet.  And, I know she nickers at me when she needs something.

For the Grand Dam and Mother of all of the other horses to nicker at me when she needs something – well – that just sends me over the moon.

This is not one of my horses... but I'm pretty sure this is a nicker.  Soft eyes, open nostrils.

This is not one of my horses… but I’m pretty sure this is a nicker. Soft eyes, open nostrils.


Click to order this one-of-a-kind piece!

Click to order this one-of-a-kind piece (for the horses!).

FOR THE HORSES!  Every donation counts!  Click image to see the new pieces!

FOR THE HORSES! Every donation counts! Click image to see the new pieces!



HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!

3 comments have been posted...

  1. Dawn Stephens

    I had horses when I was young – until I moved away to college. Never had any more until 6 years ago – almost 40 years later! I had forgotten about the nicker. I went out so see my newly acquired mare and heard her nicker. I stopped in my tracks. It went straight to my heart. I had forgotten how wonderful it sounds and feels to get one.

    Now we have a horse rescue down here in Baja California and last week rescued a starving mare. I wanted to cry when the vet told me she was only 4 years old. Four days after her rescue, I went out to feed at 6am and there she was, at the door of her stall, nickering at me! When I found her, she could barely stand and now she was leaning toward me whispering sweet nothings. Of course it was for food, but I choose to believe there was a bit of love thrown in.

    Thanks for all the wonderful work you do. Your blog is one email that I read every day and my family loves phoblog day – especially our toddler.

  2. Kathy

    I’m fortunate to have a nickery horse–he often greets me when he sees me coming out to bring him in from his paddock. I always assume it’s because he knows he’s about to be pampered and spoiled (and he’s right). Just last week I returned from a ten-day trip to visit family, and he got quite excited seeing me and gave me five or six nickers–a record! It made my whole week.

Post a comment!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *