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Equine Magic at Midnight

This year, we all need a little bit of magic, a glimmer of hope as 2020 unwinds months of apprehension about our health, safety, and economic stability.

The holiday season may present stresses and highlight past and present sadness, but your horse might give you a magical surprise if you are a horse owner.

A legend that may or may not be connected to religious belief circulates in many horse barns the night before Christmas. After midnight, horses acquire the ability to speak like their humans.

Be honest, how many of you steal away to your barn on Christmas Eve, straining to eavesdrop on your horse’s conversations that transmute from snorts and knickers to our languages?!

In the moonlight, what would your horses say?

“Note to Management: This hay is particularly flavorful, no twigs but lots of crunchy leaves. Buy more.”

“Clean up in Stall Five. Grandpa is dribbling his grain, again!”

“I swear if my human asks me to do another twenty-meter circle, I’m going to poop in my bucket!”

“Did you hear that Scooter’s human wrapped a diaper on his hoof because of the stone bruise? If that were me, I wouldn’t be able to show my nose in the field!”

Horses talking on Christmas Eve is akin to Santa Claus and his flying reindeer, a myth that reminds us of childhood or at least a time when we were more grounded in our creative senses. Many horse owners strive to become fluent in a horse’s language. We follow ear signals. We listen for nickers and note body tension. Horses communicate in their tongue around the clock, and our job is to translate.

If you had an hour or two to talk to your horse in your language, what would you both talk about over a carrot appetizer? Would your beloved be a foodie? Would you be your companion’s therapist advising on herd dynamics? Would you compare notes on aches and pains? Would you talk about how well you saw the Christmas Star in the night sky?

Your Christmas Eve trip to the barn may not make you both fluent in each other’s languages, but there will undoubtedly be a magical conversation!

Stay well. Stay hopeful. Stay magical.

Anna Sochocky

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