That look. “Why them and not me?…”

Have you ever given a cookie to a horse in one pasture… and then looked at the face of the horse in another pasture?

‘Why them and not me?’

Have you ever let out one horse to graze and not the others?

‘Why them and not me?’

For example…

I let Finn, Wrigley and BG (arrow pointing to her legs) out to graze on the new grass. They are in front of Missy Miss and Mo, who are in their pasture.

You don’t know Missy Miss, but this is definite STINK EYE from her. “Why them and not us?” It doesn’t matter that their gate is open to the 5 acres of grass below. What matters is that they are not allowed OUT RIGHT NOW like these other horses. Hence, stinkeye.

You also don’t know Dalton, but believe me, this is the “How could you?!” look. It is also, the “I don’t love you anymore and go away” sideways ears look. The Pony King is too new and too polite to show any upset…


I once read a study that with most animals, it doesn’t matter the AMOUNT you feed them, what matters is WHO IS FED FIRST.

Try it sometime…

I can feed a handful of hay to Finn, and as long as he’s first, he will ignore that I gave Wrigley an entire flake.  Of course, as soon as Finn is done with his handful of hay, he will push Wrigley away from his flake and steal it for himself.

The same scenario goes with Dalton.  He is King of his pasture.  He MUST be fed first – even if I just give him a bite.  He doesn’t care if everyone else gets full flakes, as long as he is first.

What they hold dear is seniority and hierarchy, not value.

I find that so interesting…


With humans, we value the ‘most’ one can get, not being first necessarily – unless it is a race or Olympics or something.

Whereas I don’t think it is ‘instant gratification’ that motivates horses, because they won’t do what they don’t want to do – for a cookie.  But, they will push their friend out of the way for a cookie if they deem themselves senior.

Humans wouldn’t do that – in public, anyway.

So I guess all I’m saying is that in horses, respecting the hierarchy, keeps the peace.  And what is good for one better be given to the others… to relieve the viewer of stinkeye.


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2 comments have been posted...

  1. Calvin48

    A veterinarian who was also a horseman once told me that horses can’t count and volume means nothing to them. A piece of a carrot or the entire carrot – it’s exactly the same to a horse.

  2. Bunny

    Horses an’t, however I’m convinced that DOGS can count. My two JRT’s are fully aware of unbalanced treat distribution and ready to sulk and pout if one gets two treats and the other just one. Oh, the accusatory looks….

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