Thursday, March 6, 2008

Horse Has Opinion? What Else Could it be?

I often wonder exactly what horses are thinking! Or are they actually involved in thought or attempting to scope out their environment and learn about the proximity of others of the same species?

I am sure we could come up with many "translations" of Kim's Quarter Horse  Bam's facial expression, but in reality she may just be trying to get a better "whiff" of an odor left by one of her equine companions.

While it appears that Bam is turning up her nose or laughing, this behavior is called the flehmen response (from the German, meaning to curl the upper lip). Horses, felines and other mammals draw their lips back to facilitate the transfer of pheromones and scents into another of their organs, called the Jacobson's Organ.

I have witnessed my cats engaging in this activity often when I am introducing a new food. Initially I thought that it was a negative comment about the product, but in reality it is giving them a higher degree of information. And I took it purrsonally for such a long time.

But don't you think that this is a funny face? If I didn't know better, I would be tempted to think that she might have been commenting on the recent Presidential Primaries!

Have you observed your pets displaying a flehmen response? What did you think it meant? Leave a comment and let us know.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

LOL! Be careful what we teach these loving beings! Bam will put her nose up like this when she is either ill (and you can tell the difference) or to smile for a treat! She smiles on command with me pointing my index finger in the air and to right. Her action is to smile mine is to give a treat. Action-reaction...taught! Now I can even be out back and look over and there is Bam smiling to get me to pay attention to her! Raven gives kisses! The Breeze likes to shake hands! Holly is also a kisser! Just be careful they don't turn into a biter or start as one! They are fun! Thanks JO for showing your love of horses and supporting a dying breed! We come from a rodeo, 4 H town. Our farrier told us that only two families from our town attend the junior rodeo's. This is terrible news! We really need to slow down our breeding programs also! Please consider a responsibily when you breed. Don't just assume you will make money or that the horse will go to a good family or person. This isn't happening! In our area people are having to pay $15. for a bale of hay. Some horses are actually being 'dumped'. I would only breed to get a horse from my own these days. I was truly blessed to find a cowboy-rancher who didn't think the same! Times are hard for our horses ya'll! My heart cries! SAVE THE AMERICAN COWBOY...YOU BETTER DO IT NOW BOY!...Michael Martin Murphy