Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Do Animals Laugh?

After yesterday's post, I've decided that the best thing I can bring to my work with horses (and writing, and piano, and parenting, and, and...) is a sense of humor. A lot happens in life that we can't control, call it chaos, but we need to move on.

There are times when I've thought my horses (and other animals) might actually have a sense of humor--they seem to tease each other, and me, on purpose.

Could it be? Do animals have senses of humor? I definitely think they feel joy, and maybe they laugh, too.

You may have seen this joke circulate, but I cut out some and only kept the parts that I can relate to (and added my own comments):

You Know You're A Horse Person When...

...your horse gets new shoes more often than you do. (I think we're actually tied. I'm addicted to boots!)

…your mouth waters at the sight of a truck full of hay. (Definitely this one!! There are times I've considered chasing a load down the freeway to ask, Where did you get that beautiful hay???!!!???) consider a golf course as a waste of good pasture land. (Actually, I've thought about grazing my horse ON the golf course! Think of the money I'd save!) pull a $17,000 horse trailer with a $1,000 pick-up truck. (This one isn't me, but it could be--a horse trailer with a living quarters...dreamy.) realize finding a horse shoe is truly lucky because you've saved ten bucks. (Oh, how many times have I walked that pasture looking for shoes--but not to save ten bucks--to make sure the nails are accounted for!)

...someone does something nice for you and you pat them on the neck and say 'good boy'. (Uh huh, why not?) try to get by someone in a constricted space and instead of saying "excuse me" to him/her, you cluck at them instead. (You bet I do--it works!) show up for an appointment in your city clothes and when you get there people reach across the table to pick alfalfa out of your hair. (This one happens WAY too often to me! I don't know how alfalfa gets into so many places--the unmentionable places, for sure. It's down the bra I hate worst of all--try picking that out during coffee with the girls! And, it itches!!) one wants to ride in your car because they'll get sweet feed and hay in their socks and on their clothes...but that's ok because you'll have to rearrange all the tack to make room for them anyway! (and dog hair and horse hair--have lint roller, will travel) say "whoa" to the dog. (Well, my dog is as big as a horse, so this one is excusable, right?) see the vet more than your child's pediatrician. (Sad, but true--does that mean my children are really, really healthy?) groom your horse daily for hours and you haven't seen a beautician since...? (Only because I don't trust beauticians with my unruly mane.)

...someone asks for a screwdriver and you hand them a hoof pick. (I've used a hoof pick as a screw driver more than once--haven't you? Use what you got!) clean tack after every ride but you never, ever, wash the truck. (Well, confession: I don't clean tack after every ride, but I never wash the truck either!) can remember worming schedules, lessons, and farrier visits in your head, but often forget your class schedule, household chores, and meals. (If you met my farrier, you'd know why I don't forget an appt. He'd be gone, baby, gone, if I did!) are unreasonably pleased to get a horse item, ANY horse item, as a gift. (So true! Anyone want to send me one??) stop channel surfing at Budweiser Clydesdale commercials. (Well, they're funny.) actually get to a point where flies don't bother you that much anymore. (Well, kinda...I'm very thankful for fly predators! It's not that they don't bother me, I just want to conquer them and feel very pleased when I'm winning.)

Hope you have a wonderful (and humorous) day with your horses, dogs, cats, goats, husbands and children!

And I'm very interested, if you have time to comment, do you think horses laugh, too?

Oh, and in a weird twist of fate, I have a friend who posted this link on her facebook account--Laughing Dog Sound Comforts Dogs in Shelter! And, you can buy a CD of recorded dog laughter, too!


  1. I can relate to so many of those things! Especially the hay down the bra. I hate that! Never will get to where flies don't bother me though.

    I think horses definitely can have a sense of mischief. Some much more so than others! I'm glad mine haven't figured out how to open gates or anything. There is a HILARIOUS blog somewhere out there with a pony that does some crazy stuff. I can't remember what it is though! I think his name is Mr. something... It's driving me nuts. I'll tell you if I remember. He steals things, sneaks into the house - it's too funny!

  2. See, I have a horse who does things like that, too, Cowboy. He's coy, but he'll slowly be untying his rope--I look at him--he stops--and back and forth. He seems to be really enjoying the game. Sometimes, too, he'll bite one of the others on the butt while I'm trying to groom them, and he has a very mischievious look in his eyes when he does.

    I was thinking about this post as I was getting around here today, and I realized I really, really love a good laugh. I love comedies--I love to laugh with my friends, and I love it when my kids get me laughing--or my husband. Doesn't everyone?

  3. Yeah... I can relate to most on the list. I haven't gotten shoes in a couple years... but our horses get them every six weeks.

  4. I totally agree with everything on your list, except the shoes. Our horses don't get shoes, but I have developed a boot fetish since we've owned horses. And yes, the hay in the bra is the WORST! Try talking to guests you are checking in and not squirm when you get poked.

    Bill and I both have horses with humor, although Bill's has the "dry, Brit type" and Jesse has been known to shove me off logs into water with the "not me" look clearly pasted on her face. If I stare at her long enough, she breaks into the grin and you can't miss the meaning. It's one of my favorite things about our crew, although Washoe really doesn't get it. They are as individual as people.

  5. Pie has a sense of humor - when he unties himself he gives me a look. And Lily, when my (non-horsey) husband would pick her feet, would, when he was holding a hind foot, shift her weight just so that he would overbalance and fall over (usually in the mud). She would then "sneer" at him - Lily has a wonderful sneer.

  6. I don't have a horse, but I'll join you in your boot addiction ... The more, the better, it's the best part about cold-weather months here.

    I do think animals have a sense of humor. I've seen it in my cat in her playful times. I mean, we see their fear, their wariness, their ease, so why not humor too? What's interesting about the thought is that humor involves an element of intelligence, so more goes on in their minds than we'd think sometimes!

  7. Juanita--the only reason I get to tie with my horse, Cowboy, is because he gets his fronts done due to the P3 fracture--but otherwise, I'm like you there. That's hilarious that Jesse shoves you off logs!! I think, if they display their sense of humors with us, it means they kind of like us--don't you?

  8. No Socks--I'm on that same six week schedule. Most of my horses just get trimmed every six weeks, but Cowboy--during riding season--gets shod, too--for a little extra $$$. I have a couple of horses who really need the six week rotation--they just grow foot like crazy.

  9. Kate--I can just imagine Pie--he sure seems to have bonded with you already. And, Lily, how funny!!

  10. Joanne--so you can't relate to chasing hay down the freeway or having alfalfa in your bra??

    You're right about their intelligence. I think there's so much we don't understand or appreciate about animal intelligence because it's different than ours--what a loss for people who don't get it.

  11. Can totally relate to these - except the shoes, too. My dad trims our horses, and none are shod. And I don't have tack to clean, but my Jeep is COATED, inside and out, with evidence of the basin. Why go to the car wash when it's not on the way to the basin??

    And I totally agree with horses having a sense of humor - and myriad other emotions! We have a horse at home that will open and go through gates (resulting in the policy that all gates are chained, not just latched) - with or without friends - and he seems to delight in watching you watch him do it - especially when you're *just* too far away to prevent it!

    The wild horses also have a range of emotions. The mamas, especially, can seem rather staid, but the foals and young horses (I know you're shocked) are mischievous. It's especially fun to watch foals from different bands play when their families come close together. And it has been wonderful to see the affection shown by all the horses, especially that of the older siblings, toward their baby sisters and brothers.


Please feel welcome to join our discussion by telling us about your own thoughts and experiences.