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Updated: Jun 14, 2018

Jenni Nellist Animal Behaviourist Horses Translated Blog Horse Whiskers

I’ve been prompted to think a bit more about these. I don’t usually, because they are always there, right on the noses and other whiskered parts of my horses. I see them everyday so I don’t really, if you get my drift?

Whiskers are important sensory tools for horses, helping them feel their way as they bring their noses and mouth parts into close contact with edible and non-edible parts of their environment. Feeling what can be pushed vigorously aside or what can be pulled into the mouth by those tough, prehensile, finger-like lips of theirs. Also feeling for what ought to be avoided, brambles in the long grass perhaps?

Jenni Nellist Animal Behaviourist Horses Translated Blog Horse Whiskers

So whiskers are really useful; an integral part to happy, functional horse lives. I like to think of them as being just like our finger tips. We use them in much the same way, to guide our grasping fingers towards or away from items as required. They stop us burning our hands, remind us to clean our touch screen devices, even enable to help us pick blackberries without squashing them or pricking ourselves. Blackberries?! Oh yes! My horses are keen on those too, and their leaves and soft shoots. Their whiskers help them in just the same way as our finger tips do in that seasonally delicious activity!

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