You can hear horses nicker and whinny. You can feel the ground shake when they gallop past you in full run. When you are inside a horse trailer with them and they call for their mates, the trailer vibrates with the force of their voice and your ears ring for thirty minutes.
Even so, horses are quiet. Really quiet.
One story, among many I have, illustrates the stealth horse in every horse that lives and breathes. Air force secret stealth projects have nothing on these guys. Four years ago I was setting up cedar staves between big fence posts on the boundary between our place and a neighbor’s ranch southeast of us. Our small remuda of equine was in the pasture behind me and I was sweating and swearing vigorously in the morning heat. Between me and the horses in the field was a flat-bed trailer.
As I stood back from a particularly hard tie of a cedar stave to a five-strand barbed wire fence, I felt this hairy flesh about my neck and shoulder. I was already nervous from fighting yellow-jacket wasps and I had a couple of minor puncture wounds from the barbed wire. What in the world has got me now?
It was Star, paint horse gelding! Sneaked up he did, went around the flat-bed trailer, and quietly walked up to my backside!
Five minutes ago, he was back up a hundred yards in the pasture. Now the guy is building fence with me! “Star, what are you doing? You scared the daylights out of me!”
He stood there looking at my work. I’m sure he was real proud of himself having spooked me. I gave him a gentle rub between the eyes. He stood with me for about fifteen minutes while I finished the task and then ambled off, walking around the flat-bed trailer to go munching on bermuda grass.
That Star is a stealth horse.
Forthcoming post: Star Herds Sheep Without Rider