When you live in close proximity to others, it helps to learn to work things out.

You know, communicate with each other.

It seems to me that horses are much better at this than humans. They’re skilled at reading body language. For example, “Don’t even think about coming near me,” is communicated with absolutely no room for confusion. “That’s my hay, so back off,” is also crystal clear.

Horses have us beat in that arena.

We humans aren’t nearly as clear.

At least most of us.

We worry about hurting someone’s feelings, or try too hard to please, when it isn’t pleasing to us. There are times when we don’t have a clue as to how we feel, so it’s a challenge to communicate that to someone else.  Or we’re afraid of hearing the answer, so we don’t ask the clarifying question.

Horses are rarely confused about their feelings.

In this winter pasture, the horses have neighbors. They’re turned out from their barn stalls into a dry lot for the day – kind of like taking your kids to daycare. They get sun and fresh air and a little more room to kick up their heels when the urge strikes them.

Life in the dry lot seems boring to me.

There’s not much to do. Can’t graze because there’s not a blade of grass in the hard-packed dirt.  The best entertainment is watching the neighbors.

When our two old sweeties stand at the back of the car eating their grain, they usually have an audience. Bud could care less. As I’ve described many times, he’s focused when he eats. Head down, food in seems to be his motto.

 But as usual, Pepper is another story.

She doesn’t like being watched. She’s turned into a drama queen at feeding time. She’ll take a bite or two and then snap her head around, flatten her ears and snort. Then she’ll whip her head back into her feed pan to resume eating, occasionally hitting her head in the process.

She’s trying to tell those gawkers to back off. “Stop watching me eat!”

Those of you who have children may find this a familiar scenario.

Unfortunately, the gawkers don’t seem to care. They’re far enough away from the action to know they’re in no danger. It’s more like a movie to them.

Besides, I suspect they’re hungry.

And bored.

And curious.

So they watch while our horses eat.

And snort.

And flatten ears.

Just another day in the pasture.

 As for my communication attempts: I’m experimenting with ear flattening, but so far I’m not having much luck. I guess it’s back to “using my words” for me.

How are you doing when it comes to communicating with your neighbors? Your friends?

Drama or Dalai Lama?