How much does your horse think?


Well-Known Member
Mar 15, 2008
Random thought, I'm doing too much. :D

Bringing mine in I called.
She looked and didn't move- normal
In season nicker and last few steps she comes- normal.
I lead in she's directly behind- normal.

I didn't give anything a thought beyond the oh your in season.
How much thought did she have to what I did?
Horsemanship will have us believe that it's about 'showing them whose boss' or 'being the alpha' or 'moving their feet and not yours.
Did any of that even cross her mind. Is she secretly plotting because she's behind me. Or is she thinking the path is too narrow so there isn't anywhere else, or like me- nothing! :p

I'm not saying horses are thick, but I do wonder if they actually don't pay that much attention.
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Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2004
Suffolk, UK
I don't think my boys give too much thought to things, they just bumble along and do what is asked, spook at spooky things, eat tasty things etc. Jess is a real thinker though, when I put other people on her I say 'don't let her brain get ahead of yours', if you do that is when things get 'interesting'. When I was riding with a heart rate monitor on her proved it, she would 'spook' at things but her HR didn't go up at all but for genuine spooks it did, that was all brain not instinct. She also knows the difference between the head collar I use for things other than riding and the one I ride her in, she is never a pain to catch with the black one, but the blue one she can be a pest on occasion as she doesn't fancy work :p


Well-Known Member
Mar 15, 2008
Yes mine knows that difference as well. Clipping my reins to the headcollar she thinks we are turning out.
But I do ride her back to the field in it, so either that's wishful thinking or she is actually paying attention and thinks we are done.
Whether that goes one step further and whoopie who knows. :D

She's an opportunist, so probably isn't thinking until someone ' leaves the door open' So you do need to be riding else she else will just had for the nearest bush to munch. I described her as my picnic pony because we both love the spot we stop at.


With out my boys life would be bland
Apr 16, 2009
I am such a bad owner. I never over think what they are thinking. Yes they know that as I approach the field if no feed bowls they are coming in. They approach me when they see me because they associate me with food. If I don't have any they will take a quick scratch and wait for their head collars to go on. They walk next to me because the path is side but sometimes they fall behind sometimes keen and want pull faster than me.

Sometime they will follow me round when I poo pick but not always. They spook at random stuff.

I am not saying that they don't think I just believe they don't analyses everything like we do to me it is simple. They see something they was not there before spook, but their nature makes them either go back to have a look or run.


Well-Known Member
Oct 13, 2004
On an island
I don't think my girls think anything much lol apart from about food, Zi and being scratched in the right places!! Hehee. Ground wise, bringing in and turning out etc, I think because I blithley expect them to do as I want, they do. I don't over egg it. (Ridden used to be a different kettle of fish with madam as I was always looking for the why and how etc:oops:)


Well-Known Member
Mar 15, 2008
She was watching the guests arrive, unload the cars etc and the general hustle and bustle of all the activity.
Probably if she was thinking at the same time, it might be anyone got a carrot in those bags, or whose going to fuss then.
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Well-Known Member
Apr 24, 2011
Oh I think they are more clever than we give them credit.
Today I was running short on time , usually I arrive down at the yard and give them both a shout, sometimes they come running to the gate , other times they dwaddle, but today I just lifted both head collars and walked into the field to get them.
Now usually Marley is waiting at the gate first so he mostly gets brought in first but today I led both in together, I went through the gate first then Rummy came in behind me when all of a sudden i felt a tug, i turned around to see Marley had grabbed hold of the top of Rummy's headcollar and was dragging him back into the field. I was raging, cause wee Rummy is old and I hate to see him getting a hard time, Marley got a stern telling off and made to wait while Rummy was led in first with him having to lead up behind. Clearly Marley wanted to go in front of Rummy but I thought it was rather clever of him to grab the top padded bit of head collar to pull Rummy back by??

Nov 10, 2014

Kia is clever, he’s methodical and acts completely differently with me around than he does with anyone else. If you want to think of it in leader terms then I am Definitely his, I lead he follows, if he resists then it makes me think as generally he trusts me.

He has idiosyncrasies, little traits that are his, those I accept and I unconsciously work around, I do it without thinking now which on occasion can make me Complacent when I have other people doing stuff around him.

I don’t think about all of this, we are in sync 99% of the time, I treat him like a horse and he acts like one really.

chunky monkey

Well-Known Member
May 2, 2007
Billy definately thinks. Always thinks the worst I reckon. Which is why we have issues.
Like some days he will come to me, other days if you approach him he will walk away. You can see him saying bugger you I'm off.
Tacking up hes still funny about his bridle going on. He sticks his head in the air, turns his head away. Clamps his mouth shut so he won't take the bit. He dislikes me pulling his ears through the head piece. It's all related to being head shy, or having had his ears twitched at some stage Im sure. You see him literally thinking how can i get out of this. But as soon as the bridle goes on though, a light switches off and his head goes down and he part shuts his eyes and goes to sleep. You have to wake him up to then go for the hack.
In the early days I swear he had a radar antenna looking deliberately for things to spook at. In most cases clumps of white flowers, or white tree blossom. Tree stumps is another favourite.


Well-Known Member
Mar 15, 2008
Today on our ride I opened the zipper three times on the saddle bag. The first time was ignored because I took out a drink.
The second time was ignored because I took out my sandwiches.
But the third time sounded like a packet of mints, this stops the hooves and the head pops round for hers. :D
She knows what's on my mind, and its minty.
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