The Key to Effective Communication with Animals is to Listen

Posted by on July 4, 2013 in Awareness, Healing, Inspiration, The Heart, The Horse | 3 comments

Donny Color Adj 350w_3711Horses communicate with us all the time. Their cues are subtle and kind. Their non-verbal expressions and are frequently missed as our minds are full of what to do’s and what we think is going on. The key is to listen. Yesterday, I had a clear lesson about this from a Dales pony; his clarity showed me what I nearly missed.

After working with this three year old, Donny, I put a full set of black leg wraps on his legs, for fly protection, and turned him back out. An hour or so later, I went out into his field to check on one of his pasture mates who had been running, a Fjord. The Fjord was fine, but he was missing a blue leg wrap, so I made a note to walk up to the barn for a replacement. Donny had approached me as I was assessing the legs of the Fjord and when I stood up, he touched my left shoulder with his muzzle. He then looked over his right shoulder and pointed to the next field over. With his direct line of sight he was showing me a black leg wrap laying in the grass; it was about fifteen yards away, in an attached field.

When touched by his clear communication, I noted that Donny was wearing black leg wraps but remembered that I had put them all back on. I walked to the fallen wrap, picked it up and returned to where the Fjord was grazing to put it on his bare leg. The Fiord was not at all interested in having the fly wrap put on; he trotted off. “OK,” I said to myself, “I’m not going to force anything here.” I paused, wondering.

Donny, who had followed me into the next field when I collected the leg wrap, had followed me back into this field and watched his pasture mate trot off. As I stood, listening and wondering what to do next, Donny approached me again. He faced me and dropped his head, touching my lower pant leg from below my knee to the ankle in a gentle gesture. I wondered why. With this question my closed mind opened; I noticed that Donny’s left hind leg was bare, a wrap had come off. He stood quietly while I put his black legging back on; and I felt his gratitude for my action and my gratitude for his gentle teaching merge our hearts together as one.


  1. I love it Ginger! Way to be present and listen! How wonderful to have a friend and helper like Donny!

    • Yes, Mary Ann, he is a sweet and sensitive young man who requires the same from me.

  2. Such a gentle nudge rather than any expression of frustration at not having been “understood” at once. So patient, the horses are with us