ORIGINALLY POSTED: 5/20/2013
I’m going to watch the finals of THE VOICE tonight.
That got me thinking…What about my horses and their voices?
Have you ever really listened to their voices?
Here’s what I mean…
MY HORSES’ VOICES.
As I think through my crew, I can tell you that I do recognize all of their distinctive voices. Some call, some nicker, some scream… but it is all their voice.
They want to be heard.
Norma, Bodhi and Slick will call whenever they see me or think that I am going to emerge from the house or the car.
They want something. I really don’t think it is a “hello” – ever.
Well, maybe sometimes but these three are needy…
Norma’s bray is quite distinctive and penetrating. Norma will bray when she is upset or when she wants food. Usually she is upset about wanting food. If she actually knew how well her voice worked, she might use it more… As it is, I try not to come when she brays for fear I will train her into waking the neighborhood daily.
Bodhi will softly rumblenicker often. He is the most vocal of the herd. Since Bodhi is behind the house, he can hear me as I move about. He can also see me if I am in the bedroom, bathroom or kitchen. So, he calls all the time, in a low ‘come hither’ beckon.
I like it. And, it works. More often than not, I will hear his sweet lullaby directed towards me – and as if in a trance, I let him out to graze on the lawns. He has me well trained.
Slick just wants attention. Any kind of attention. His high pitched whinny generally means, “Come over here now! I’ve got plans and lots to do so get over here and open the gate or give me a cookie!”
He is so dang cute, I usually call back to him or walk over and noogie his mop-topped head. This utterly infuriates him. He’ll snake his pony neck and stomp all around… he really wants respect. So, I usually hug, kiss and pet him until he feels like the King he so wants to be.
Finn will rumble at me when I come down to feed. He has a very sexy nicker. I suppose that is why all the mares love him.
But Finn has a voice on him.
Finn rarely uses his voice for anything other than a nicker – UNLESS – we are at a new trailer parking lot full of other horses. Then, he takes the opportunity to scream, full volume. Finn has the movie typical horse holler. Loud and shrill with a snortle at the end.
When he does this, I feel like chopped liver.
“What about me?”, I ask. “Why aren’t you happy with just me?”
Finn tells me that he has to ‘check in’ with all the other horses until he is sure the place is safe… He is simply sounding the alarm to test the waters… If any of the other horses sound off, he knows he needs to RUN!
Finn is my alarmist.
THE QUIET, POLITE ONE
Dodger also has a quiet voice he uses to greet me whenever he sees me. He doesn’t raise his voice or scream. He simply salutes me… unless he needs to use his big boy voice to state a problem. If Dodger uses his big voice, I know I had better check things out. He wouldn’t disturb me or raise his voice unless it was real.
For a tiny pony, he has a big, deep voice.
Wrigley will scream for play. Wrig will scream if he feels insecure. Wrig will scream for Tess.
He is like a hyper active kid. He cannot whisper. He has to yell.
He doesn’t even nicker for food. Wrig is so busy pushing and shoving, he forgets to ask kindly… Such an odd little man… I think things will change once he settles into adulthood.
Gwen is a talker. She nickers at me and will carry on an entire conversation for as long as I am within her sight. Mostly, she is describing how much she really needs some sort of tidbit or food item. Often, she will stand on the fence boards or prop herself up on a gate to exclaim more clearly – so that I don’t miss her requests.
Gwen will not be ignored.
For a girl, she has a very throaty nicker.
When she screams, her voice is very low and powerful. Most of the horses don’t mess with her.
If I hear Gwen scream, I go out because it means she is fighting. She is a fighter.
TALK SOFTLY AND CARRY A BIG STICK
MamaTess will nicker constantly if I am near. Now that she is in the barn, she follows me around and ‘ho hoo hooos’ in my ear or at the back of my neck, con-stant-ly.
She wants food. She wants a scratch. She wants to let me know if I’ve hit the sweet spot…
But she isn’t all sweetness.
This girl can sighdisgust with the best of them. If I do not do what she requests, she will blow snort sigh phhleffwwt her disgust. You know what I mean.
But in her younger days, if the Grand Dam screamed – which she has only done twice in her entire life – the whole herd would run amok with fear. She was the leader and her screams meant she was really, really upset with another horse.
All of the horses ran away – in fear.
That girl was amazing. Still is.
Rojo the new Mustang doesn’t say much. But when he does speak, we take note.
In fact, it has been just since I moved him to his solitary pasture (it isn’t that bad – he has horses across both fences and can touch them) that he nickered at me. Last week, for the first time, he nickered when he saw me bringing his dinner. I melted.
When I have heard Rojo call loudly – with a slightly wild eye – it was when a horse he didn’t know and couldn’t see – called. It could have been a neighbor horse or a horse riding by in a trailer. This unknown horse calling will really upset Rojo. I’m not sure if he is trying to alert his herd or if he is trying to help the one who called.
In either case, I respect the way he thinks.
GO WITH THE FLOW
Sam, the other wild mustang, doesn’t say much, either. She nickers at me in a barely audible (as if she really isn’t nickering unless you get very very close) tone and pretends she isn’t nickering.
The only time I heard her call was when her baby still lived here and she would call to her.
Most of the time, Sam watches. She doesn’t use her voice.
BG (Beautiful Girl) also doesn’t say much. She will nicker at food time but BG is very sensible…
…Unless there is a thunder storm. If there is a weather change, BG is the weather reporter. When I hear BG’s very feminine call, I know there is a storm brewing…
Remi, the third mustang of the group, is solid as a rock and the toughest mare. She’s been there and done that… This girl is the brute with the golden heart.
She also sounds the alarm.
I know that if I hear Remi’s shrill, piercing and long scream, there is a big problem. Remi can get me bolt upright in bed and out to the pasture in seconds.
Remi doesn’t mess around. This girl stands guard and is ready to jump in and move the ball along. She was the one who let me know when Aladdin was down.
WHAT ABOUT YOUR HORSES?…
HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!
How did I miss this post, originally!!?? Someone just reposted it on Facebook, and I totally love it. How often do we all ponder the “conversations” our horses are trying to have with us, and become attuned to the various intonations of their voices. Wonderful! :)
Loved your piece on the variety of song your horses share with you….As I was reading a couple I thought – awww, what a nice article – and the horses just kept on comin’……Good for you, it is apparent you listen…..what a good Mommy you must be!!!!……horses need people like you who understand the sacred heart of horses…..bless you…… and ,oh, where are you, I’m movin’ in!!!!…..LOL…….wishing you and your herd continued love and harmony…….
I will have to analyze my crew. I do know them all very well, and understand each one, but never thought to write down ‘their’ thoughts and language. Very good post. I knew you had a lot of critters but did not realize until you were listing each one. AND in following your blog for a very long time, remembered each one too!
Wow that was a fun read and I can almost hear your crew nickering! Thank you for sharing – I love reading this blog; you are a great storyteller:)
What a wonderful article! I used to board my horse and I mainly recognized the nickers from almost every stall when I walked into the barn. I knew they were all wanting attention and hopefully, a carrot from the bag I always had. I figured they were fickle, though. Anybody entering the barn probably got the same greeting from that bunch of bored folks looking for something to do. I wish I could experience living on a farm with a bunch of horses and could get to know their voices. Thanks for sharing!