Sunday, 10 January 2010


I have always found 'communication' to be an interesting subject. For many years I worked as a Speech and Language Therapist's Assistant dealing mainly with pre-school children but, as much as I enjoyed my job, I find animal communication to be even more fascinating.

My cat, for instance, during her 19 years of life, has developed her "meuw" for food, to "meow," to "mnow" and after a couple of attempts she now manages a very respectful "now!!!" How clever is that...although its also a bit annoying at 5am when she wakes me up demanding her breakfast.

It is the communication aspect that makes me enjoy horses so much. Horses use a lot of body language between themselves but when being ridden by humans they have to interpret a whole host of other communications signals and in general they do it with such good humour. This makes me think that they too must enjoy the interaction with humans.

A couple of days ago, when we were visiting the ponies on the SSSI land, my husband tripped which frightened Tivy and he ran down towards where I was checking his field mate, Rufus. When Tivy saw me he stopped and tossed his head up and down a couple of times. So I tossed my head up and down a couple of times too (I had washed my hair that morning and it was flying around a bit like a horse's mane:-). Tivy looked at me in amazement, then tossed his head up and down again, so I copied him again and this went on for several minutes, each of us taking a turn. It sounds a bit mad, but communication is all about copying and turn taking. However, unfortunately, I haven't a clue what my head tossing conversation with Tivy was all about but it was great fun.

It is shame humans can't communicate better. My son, daughter and grandson left from Gatwick for their skiing holiday in France but their flight was diverted to Lyon due to bad weather. Unfortunately, for some unknown reason, the French would not allow the passengers off the plane so they had to sit there for 12 hours!!! Eventually (I think after the British Consulate got involved) they were allowed off and arrived at their destination of La Plange at 5am, nearly 24 hours after leaving Gatwick. If we can't communicate better with our neighbouring country, to sort out simple problems, I don't hold out much hope for the EU ever being successful.

1 comment:

Alice said...

how fascinating! did you watch the programme on BBC2 about dogs recently? My mum told us to watch it so we watched it online... and everyone thinks we're mad for believing that our dog actually knows exactly what we are thinking ;-)

Can I have the horse in the picture please?!!!