Talking Horses

Those who know my Paint mare Holly know that she is a bit of a Diva. Well, actually she is the definition of a demanding Diva. Madonna in a horse suit. She was born to be beautiful and talented, raised to show, and came with a sense of entitlement regarding her life. 
And up until she came to Sweet Grass Farm she was indulged. 
This winter, however, she is living in the shed with her friends, and without a blanket up until last week. 
People ask me, how do you know when your horse needs a blanket? It can be as obvious as them shivering, although I would be upset if they got to that point. I'd like to catch their discomfort a lot sooner and I'd like to think I know their temperament well enough that I can tell when something is bugging them.
Take today, for example. Holly has had a blanket on for the past few days when it dipped to minus 15 Celcius because she seemed a bit out of sorts. She wasn't shivering, she was just a bit crankier than usual. Last night I took it off since the temperature in our wonderful Southern Ontario winter has bounced back to the zero mark and she seemed quite comfortable in the shed.
This afternoon I fed them a bale in the field to get them out of my way so I could muck out. Her majesty, Princess Holly, refused to go out to the field with the others. It was a bit windy but not too bad, so I thought. She followed me back to the shed so I took her in, wiped her off and put on her blanket. Well, that mare PRANCED back out to the field with me! I've had her a year and a half and I've never seen her do that. When we got back out to the field she followed me everywhere.
It was kind of like a game of charades, an inter-species pantomime. When you really start to notice what your horse is doing you realize that they've been talking to you all along, sometimes subtle, sometimes not so subtle. We just don't hear them. I want to play that game.
You can't tell me she wasn't telling me loud and clear what she wanted, then said 'Thank You' the only way she knew how. Luckily I guessed right. 

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