WCOW

Previous Horse hated cows.

Cows across the street. We used to trot up & down our long driveway for conditioning hacks. The only thing that made him more nervous than the cows across the street was the empty field where the cows had been on the last pass. Which way did they go? Which way did they go? When the herd would start with the cow noises, his ears would go straight up. He would tense every muscle in his body in an attempt to decode the bovine plans for world domination.

Cows in the field. Once a small herd of lost cows ended up in our front field. Mathilda was startled, but got over it. Previous Horse passaged around the pasture for days after the cows had gone.

Cows at the show. We unloaded and the farmer next door let a herd into the next field. My senior horse ended up with a stallionesque chain through his mouth as the only – the only – way to keep him on this planet.

I still get misty-eyed when cow radio comes on.

Last Sunday, cows moved in next door. When I went to the barn in the morning, Rodney was frantic in his stall. I gotta get out. I gotta get out. He gets full marks for permitting a halter, walking out reasonably well, and sticking the dismount. The microsecond he was at liberty, he was GONE. Not Previous Horse’s fear as much as a need to be on top of the situation. So, Rodney thundered around the field. Mathilda thundered around the pen. It was a long morning.

We appear to have gotten over the new neighbors. There are still the occasional noble looks into the distance. In the horses’s collective defense, when the cows are in the part of their field closest to our barn – that’s a lot of cow not very far away.

How does your horse feel about cows?

Categories: Horse Behavior, Horses

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2 replies »

  1. They’re both ok with Moos unless it’s a herd of blundering bullocks who come charging over to the fence to investigate the passing horses, then they both turn into high-stepping hackneys and side-pass all the way down the road.

  2. In our career in horses, we’ve bought three that supposedly “knew it all and won it all” and some came with the plaques and trophies to back it up. The very first one we bought was an obstacle champion, conformation champion (if you could survive his boredom when the judge wasn’t looking), and all around well trained. He’d spent his winter trail riding in the mountains of Eastern Ky, and considering the cliffs and rivers, we thought he was a pretty solid purchase.

    Until we rode him on the farm behind us, where there is a gravel road, and cows. Now, I grant him that half the cows had big terrifying, pointy horns, and the other half made up for the lack of horns by charging and stomping at the electric fence like they were rabid. Never, though, had they been loose on this road, or on our farm. The first time we ever encountered the cows, we were totally unprepared for the utter slam halt, reverse, and bolt the other way.

    Eventually, we have now convinced him the cows are not out to get him, but we always have to put another horse (or three) in between him and the cows. I guess he’s taking the approach like one would a bear. You don’t have to outrun the bear, just the one that’s slower than you, and he figures distance from said cow is a bonus!

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