IAABC.org - Full Article
Lauren Fraser on May 08, 2012
Do you prefer your horse clean shaven, and tackle every stray hair with scissors, pulling comb, or clippers? Or are you in the “wild and wooly” camp, whose members sport shaggy beards, hairy fetlocks and whiskery chins? Whichever grooming club you belong to, you may want to reconsider trimming a certain part of your horse’s body the next time the urge to tidy things up overcomes you.
The horse is a highly perceptive prey animal, that relies on the information he receives from all of his senses to survive. Even though the majority of us are working with horses that have been domesticated, they still retain all of the instincts of their feral and wild cousins, and understanding how they perceive their world gives us valuable information to interpret their behavior. In addition to their other senses, horses rely heavily on their sense of touch to survive as a species. As many horse owners can attest, horses make quick decisions (and sometimes have fast reactions) when something unexpected touches them. The sensitivity along their sides is even greater than that of our own fingertips. Nature tends to not create superfluous items on animals, so seemingly everything on the horse probably serves a purpose. To many people, those wiry, long hairs that protrude from around the horse’s eyelids and muzzles are considered an eyesore or a nuisance. Some over-zealous owners attack them regularly with clippers or scissors, without a second thought. But perhaps you should, as their function matters to the horse...
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