Horsewatching: Why does a horse whinny and everything else you ever wanted to know
The author of the phenomenally successful Catwatching, Dogwatching, and Catlore turns his attention to horses, answering more than 40 intriguing questions about the nature of the horse, and discussing the myths and history of horses through the ages. Desmond Morris delights animal lovers once again in this book of facts and lore. 25 black-and-white drawings.
expression seen in a young foal is one called ‘snapping’. In this the animal opens its mouth, draws back its mouth-corners and then, with teeth exposed, starts to open and shut its jaws. Sometimes the teeth make contact and sometimes they just fail to do so. When they do snap together there is a clapping noise – some authors have called this action ‘teeth-clapping’. Others have stressed the opening and closing of the jaws and have christened it ‘jaw-waving’. Its function is submissive and the
than 392. (For a mare in a stable it is usually between 340 and 350 days.) Signs that the mare is near her time include a sudden turning of the head as if to inspect the flank region (checking no doubt the strange feelings emanating from there), pawing the ground, sweating, shifting about, lying down and then getting up again. Sometimes she may kick against her belly with her hind legs, as if irritated by the growing tension there. At last she lies down and labour begins. The birth sac appears
the case of horses, but studies with homing birds have proved conclusively that they are sensitive to shifts in the earth’s magnetic fields. Experiments using artificial magnetic fields reveal that it is easy to disrupt the homing ability by changing the magnetic forces operating on the birds. There is every likelihood that most forms of life enjoy this sensory ability and that it is somehow based on the presence of tiny iron particles in the tissues of animals, which operate, in effect, like
animal is full of little incidents of this kind, and we often do not realize how, in a fleeting moment, a young foal may acquire a feeling of personal strength and determination. If we knew that the personality of young thoroughbreds could be ‘helped’ as they mature, we might be able to enhance their stubborn resolve to go on and on running even when the exertion has started to cause them the sort of physical discomfort that human athletes know so well. To understand this determination a little
sensitivity to the ‘magnetic map’ of the home territory. Whichever sense is operating, one thing is certain … horses are remarkably finely tuned to the environment in which they live. Such is this sensitivity that a particularly noisy environment can be distressing to a horse. People who keep their animals near to airports or busy road systems report that they often become highly strung. What for us would be an unpleasant cacophony of sounds must rise to an unbearable din for the horses. They