Give Your Horse a Voice!

Thru Musical Instruments

Remember Gaefur (guy-ver) my very nervous-of-people rehab?

I haven't been able to work with him for a few weeks due to company and extremely windy weather. Today is nice and company have gone site-seeing, so we took the opportunity to play around a little.

We did the tapping stick for a little bit and he made some music with the bell, horn, piano, and telephone toys.

My older neighbors also have company--their great-grandchildren--four kids including 3 yo triplets! Must have been a birthday party for the little ones as there were lots of balloons, flags, and other paraphenalia around the yard.

Thought maybe the kids would like to see the "pony" playing his musical instruments. We walked over to the common fence and the kids came running over with their balloons. I didn't know for sure if Gaefur was going to be able to perform, but the fence prevented the kids from getting too close and he knew he could leave if he needed to.

All turned out well. The kids enjoyed seeing Gaefur blowing his horn. He stiffened up a bit when a loose balloon came to the fence, but he continued making his music.

We talked about default behaviors before, and Gaefur's default is head-lowering which is a good choice for him.

>>> Does Gaefur really blow the horn and make noise?!? Good grief, how did you teach him that?!?<<

Yes, he does! I will attach a photo here, but I will send you (privately) a video with audio included!

Plays the piano, too!

I would suggest that you start with the bicycle bell--it's very easy for the horse's to learn to move the ringer with their upper lip. It's almost self-reinforcing because they know when they make the noise, the reward is coming! I can't tell you enough how the horses light up to make music. It's almost like giving them a voice.

For some reason, the musical instruments are very attractive to the horse. They enjoy working with them. And it keeps their interest.

On-Line Videos:
Gaefur--Piano Playing
Gaefur--Bell Ringing
Gaefur--Horn Tooting

Gaefur tooting the horn

Today I had the chance to do some observing. I spent quite a bit of time brushing out one of the horses (hairy Icelandics!). Before he went back to the pasture, I pulled out the musical instruments.

This particular horse hasn't played with the instruments for probably 4-5 months. I wondered if he'd remember them and how to make them make noise.

Each instrument (horn, bell, piano) requires a different "touch" for the sound to happen. The bell is rung by a little bit of lip and a closed mouth. The piano needs the whole upper lip and the bottom jaw dropped back a little to reach the keys. The horn needs the teeth!

I fully expected him to flounder a little and have to take several guesses on how to "play" each instrument. After all, it's been quite a while! But he surprised me! Each time I presented an instrument, let him look at it, and named it, he went right to making noise with the correct action.

Is this IQ? or memory? Are horses smart, or what?

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