My Horse Did the Smartest Thing

You describe the most intelligent thing you’ve ever seen your horse do.

My gelding escaped from his winter blanket without breaking anything—even leaving all the straps buckled in place. Houdini couldn’t have done a better job.

Credit: Illustration by Navah Rae Adams

Tambra Howard, Tennessee

When my best friend and I got lost in the woods, my horse Arizona put his nose to the ground and found our way back to the right trails. Smart horse!

Sharena Montaigne, West Virginia

I was trying to break Blue, my 8-year-old gelding, of his buddy-sourness. I left him tied and was leading the other horses to the back pasture when he came running down the hill, wearing just his saddle. Somehow he’d managed to get both his halter and bridle off.

Ashlynn Abernathy, Alabama

When my sensitive mare gave birth to her first foal, the filly had to circle many times before mom allowed her to nurse. Afterward, the foal was tired. She dropped her head but, being leggy, didn’t know how to lie down. Mom pushed with her nose behind the foal’s knee as if to say, “Bend here, silly filly.”

Connie Rudie, Montana

Our Paint gelding was developing an abscess on his coronary band. I wanted to soak his hoof in warm water with Epsom salts. It took a moment for him to understand what I was doing, but then he just plunked his hoof in the water, tipping it so the affected area of the coronary band was immersed. Then he held it there for as long as I needed him to.

Jan Kast, Missouri

Suzy was tied to the last ring on the stock trailer, near the open door. It started to sleet and snow. She could get only her head into the trailer. Frustrated, she turned around and jumped in backwards. There she stood, happy to be out of the weather.

Dixie Wolf, Nevada

While moving cattle, I couldn’t coax a baby calf to get up. Tired of waiting, my gelding put his hoof on the calf, shaking it till it got up. Then he used his nose to nudge it out the gate after its mom.

Megan Reimann, Nebraska

I was bringing in a pair of mares from pasture and had to pass the 3-year-old colt’s pen. The colt broke out; chaos ensued. The mares bolted in two different directions, but one of them wisely put herself back in her stall and stayed there, safe.

Jamie Coxon, Florida

My 16.1-hand gelding, Gramps, spooked and I came off. He could’ve taken off over acres of grass. Instead he came right back, hanging his head as if saying, “I’m soooo sorry!” I’ll never forget that.

Jeanne Mitman, Pennsylvania

My horse picks up her jolly-ball toy and throws it around when she’s anticipating dinner. If I don’t deliver her food fast enough, she’ll put the ball inside her feed bucket as if to say, “This is how you do it!”

Megan D’Andrea, Ohio

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