Something interesting…Friends down the road have five horses. The barn is laid out with the stalls facing a large central area. This winter I’m going there a few times each week to play with the horses. The horses are learning quickly because they can see each other as I move from horse to horse.
The game we played yesterday is the “differentiating game”. Horses are great at differentiating objects. I started with showing the objects one at a time, then presented both objects and asked the horse to pick the one I mentioned. The first object I showed them was a fabric red box with the number one (in white) on it. The box has no top so there are many areas for the horse to hold the box. “Holding” is a game we are developing. After the red box I showed the green fabric box with the number 3 on it. (The box is green light, almost a lime green.) Surprisingly each horse touched the number three when I was telling the horse about the box I was holding. The fourth horse is Sneakers. In many games he’s the star. He’s been watching the previous three horses and has the game pretty much figured out by the time I get to him. I repeated to each horse, “This is a green box. It has the number three on it.” When I said the word “green” to Sneakers he turned his head to the side and looked at the hunter green wall outside his stall. I noticed this and said, “Sneakers, you’re correct. Both the wall and the box are green. The wall is a hunter green and the box is lime green.”
I was so proud of Sneakers! He’d been puzzling over this “green” conundrum. Luckily I was paying attention to him and was able to clarify things for him. I’m guessing there are many, MANY times that I don’t notice what a horse is trying to communicate.