Rider Insider: Your Horse’s Hidden Talent

Chestnut Horse
He looks like an ordinary horse, but what amazing abilities lurk beneath the surface?


Poor Wilbur Post. His troublemaking equine companion, Ed, had the amazing ability to talk in fluent human English, but he refused to share that talent with the world. Wilbur went through life knowing that the horse in his backyard had this amazing skill, but had no way of proving it to anyone else.

Your horse may look like a normal equine out grazing in the field or dozing in his stall, but behind that plain façade, is there a unique skill just waiting to be unleashed? Can he open any pasture gate with his nimble upper lip? Does he make a strange and unusual facial expression when someone brings his favorite treat over? Does he have an uncanny ability to differentiate between the sound of your car door slamming when you arrive at the barn and the seemingly similar sound of everyone else’s?

Your horse’s hidden talent might not be quite as exciting as Mr. Ed’s, but it’s probably easier to prove. Tell us about it in the comments below. Some of our favorite responses will be featured in an upcoming issue of Horse Illustrated!


Doubleheader Day Pack
This month, Noble Outfitters is sponsoring the Rider Insider column in Horse Illustrated with a prize for the selected featured response. If you’d like to be considered for a prize, make sure to include your contact info in the email field of the comment form (emails will not be publicly displayed.)

Back to Rider Insider >>


  1. My horse, Doc, has this weird thing were he halts all nice and square when you stick your feet straight out to the the sides. My instructor said no one else can do this on him. Weird!

  2. My horses, like to play with a small plastic pail, they stand in a sort of circle, and one of them runs with the pail, drops it, then another picks it up and runs.

  3. My horse Hitch is a real character. He tries to take my shoes off so that I can’t get off his back. He likes to ride off alone, just me and him, and he bucks when I try to return to the rest of the group. He is also nicknamed “The Bulldozer” because instead of jumping the fences he destroys them, and somehow he does this without getting hurt! He’s also the kind that steals hats, gloves, leadropes, water bottles, and even saddles and just plays. He seems to understand English, too. I tried to sell him once, but he heard me tell the prospective lady that he was for sale and acted completely crazy until she said, “That’s enough, I’ve seen enough,” and immediately began acting the perfect gentleman. We laughed about it and she left without him, saying Hitch believed he was mine and that was that! He’s an unregistered American Warmblood, and I couldn’t ask for a better horse.

  4. My young OTTB has the amazing talent to fully collect do fancy dressage movements including but not limited to perfect flying lead changes and (sorry do not know names) trotting in one spot and c antering with little hind end movement in a circle (spinning)..and all this is ONLY when he has lessons around other horses..has made my dressage coach drop her jaw. Someday maybe we can do them on command!

  5. I am not sure if this is considered a talent, but it sure does make me proud! My Mini “Chance” is a gelding and he is only 33.50″ tall and you would normally think he would those a race to a mini with longer legs. Your wrong! Chance will race minis that are bigger than him on his own time and beat them by a long shot! People are amazed at how such a little horse can go so fast,for so long! Chance will go FULL OUT for an hour before stopping! He likes to prove to saddle horses that just because a mini is smaller than them, it doesn’t mean that they will loose… He likes to prove to the horses that are bigger than him aren’t better than him!

  6. My 7 year old Warmblood/Thoroughbred, Rhythm, loves to help me sweep! He’ll pick up the top of the broom and swing it back & forth against the ground… it’s pretty dang cute, if I do say so myself!

  7. My horse is just a little 15.3hh off the track, pacing Standardbred gelding that I got for free unbroke last year. He’s just a brown paper bag kind of guy on the outside, but when he gets jumping watch out! He clears 5 feet with room to spare and loves every second of it!

  8. My Quarter Horse, Belle, loves escaping her stall. She goes to the other 2 stalls and opens the latches to steal food. We have to watch her until everyone is done. We just love her.

  9. My Quarter Horse, Sailor, is a great riding horse but he also loves zipping and unzipping jackets! He’ll do it over and over again, and he likes to catch us by surprise once in a while.

  10. My horses hidden talent is being the brains of the pasture. Nearly all of midnight pasture escapes are because of him opening a gate. He will stand there and use his upper lip to lift up chains and push around. He will easily take advantage of clueless people. He knows if you don’t know, and he uses that to get out of work. If he sees the bridle coming, he will yawn and close his eyes. Not only that, but if you don’t prove to be boss over him, he pretends he doesn’t know what you are asking of him to do. He also has discovered how to drink pop from a can (His favorite turns out to be mountain dew).

  11. My horse is a copycat. When we had him at our house, we kept him in back by stringing a rope across an open gate and hanging a tarp over it. For weeks he never bothered it, but after he seen me go under it one time it was impossible to stop him from doing the same. It’s hilarious but at the same time slightly annoying, even though it is my own fault.

  12. My horse, Bamby, is impossible to strip graze. Any wire that I put up, she always manages to wiggle under! I’ve tried tightening the wire until it barely moves, or placing posts at 8 foot intervals, but it doesn’t work. Even three stranded wire, with the first strand 2feet off the ground won’t keep her on the right side of the fence. If I’ve just turned her out and stay to watch her, she deliberately stays on the correct side of the fence until I’m out of sight, before scrambling under the fence again! To be honest, it’s very annoying, but I’m amazed by her cleverness.

  13. R.J. is such a ham! It’s hard so hard to believe he can do anything with value. R.J. is a Rocky Mountain/Mule cross and he is mulish looking.
    About 3 months ago R.J. and his brother from the same sire, anyway, He was skinny and dehydrated. Now he is pleasingly plump and follows me around the barn without a lead rope.
    Happy Horsing,
    Joley & R.J.

  14. One day at the barn, my friend and I taught Kerrie (a lesson horse there) how to hug and give kisses! It is so cute to watch, and I always try the trick whenever I can. I think Kerrie just looks forward to the peppermints!

  15. My Saddlebred mare Izzy is not type-y at ALL. Mostly she gets confused for a Morgan, but I’ve heard Quarab and Standardbred too! She’s short and stocky, and because of her bad feet, she is shod like a western horse. Not to mention she is completely bomb-proof. On the surface, she is nothing like some of the higher-caliber Saddlebred show horses! But when she goes to a horse show, a switch flips in her brain; she picks up her feet like a Hackney pony, pricks her ears, and sets up like any big-time show horse! Despite he stature, showing is really her passion!

  16. The first day I came to the stable, I went into the tack room and when I came back out, my lesson horse’s stall door was open (luckily he was still inside the stall)! No one was around except for my instructor who was outside. I told the instructor that he had opened the door. She said she had never seen him do it before, but she bought a new stall door lock just incase. Phew… that could have turned out a lot worse!

  17. George isn’t MY horse, but he’s my favorite out of all the lesson horses that I ride at my barn. His ability is one that everyone appreciates very much. Most of us have fallen off of him while jumping- and while he does have a great jump, his special talent is his ability not to step on us! One time specifically, I watched another girl fall off, right in front of him, and George stopped, balancing in two legs, just do he wouldn’t step on her!

  18. My horse is quite the expert at opening gates, and will do just about anything for a treat. But I think his greatest “talent” is that he never ceases to pass gas when I’m picking out his hind feet. He doesn’t do it for the farrier, vet, or anyone else…just me. I think he must get a kick out of seeing me nearly choke to death on the lethal fumes that he passes….

  19. My horse is a little escape artist. She never fails to escape through electric wires without getting shocked. However, once her plan back-fired on her. Instead of sneaking through, she resulted in becoming tangled in the bottom wire of her fence by her hoofs. So much for Houdini!

  20. My horse loves to escape at shows! He is always trying to butt his way out and run around the show grounds. My trainer is forever telling me wild stories on how she had to run after him and catch him. But the thing is, he always breaks out and acts like it was your fault! Unfortunakeyy, he did one time snap a stall door in half…oops.

  21. My horse, Prince, has the hidden talent of getting out of his pasture. No one knows how he does it! The owner of the farm where Prince lives will come home to a horse eating grass in his front yard! I am still in awe of how a horse can get out of the pasture with an electric fence on!! But, I still cannot bring myself to get mad at him because he is always so sweet and gentle.

  22. My horse has the talent to undo my boyfriends velcro shoes. He was holding him while I was cleaning out my horses hooves and he undid his shoes like he wanted me to clean out my boyfriends feet also. Was very funny and he still does it sometimes.

  23. My lesson horse doesn’t know a lot of tricks or have a lot of hidden talents. But his hidden talent is stealing my heart! From the first day I met and rode him, he’s practiced stealing my heart everyday 🙂 I love him and hope that I get to forever.

  24. My horse can read my mind. She can tell when I’m not prepared for a training session, in which case she is confused and can be a little stubborn. Or when I know exactly what I want from her, she’s a gem and carries out my request even before I ask. But the best part of all is that when I’m sad, she opens her heart to me and takes all my worries and cares.

  25. I do not tie our horses when I groom them. I let them tell me, with their body language, what feels good and what does not. The horses are in their box stalls, but have no halters on.
    I start with the problem areas.We have ticks this time of the year in Pennsylvania. The ticks seem to prefer the jaw line, chest,neck and jugular vein area. I go over these areas with my hands first, to find the ticks, and treat the areas.
    The gelding likes to have his butt scratched, and the mare likes to have her neck scratched. It is funny how they will move. All I have to do is stand in one place.
    After the grooming, I always apply Tea Tree Oil or insect repellant of some kind. I concentrate on the problems areas where insects bother the horses most. I also place a concentrated amount of insect repellent on the end of their tails and let them do the insect repellent application.
    Horses are very smart, and if you listen to them and watch them, you can learn what makes your horse happy.

  26. I have often jokingly compared my Paint Horse, Cimarron, to Mister Ed. When he’s begging for apples, Cimarron will lift his lip up and smile, clack his teeth and “talk” to me, or stick his long pink tongue out and wiggle it. It’s hilarious to watch, and everyone that meets him gets a laugh out of his performance. For me, there is nothing better than going to the barn and seeing Cimarron’s big brown eyes and friendly grin!

  27. my horse is named Apache and his talent is playing tag with me and my sister. one day we were just playing with him in the field and he came up behind us, nudged me in the back, then took off running in the other direction. Me and my sister went after him and caught him only to have him do it again. Now, it is not uncommon for us to tap him and run the other way and have him come up behind us and do the same. We can do this back and forth for quite awhile before Apache gets tired and decides to quit. He is always gentle and has never knocked us to the ground. It is kind of funny though because we never taught him, he just picked it up on his own!

  28. My 14 y/o fleabitten gray appendix, Tonka, has learned to push open his stall door! He thinks it’s funny and cute, but I think it’s just a pain! I guess an old dog can learn new tricks…

  29. my horse switch is a charictar when i put him out in a pen with a tie halter on he always gets it untied and when i go out to see him its laying on the floor and he acts like he didnt do anything. so i got him a buckle halter

  30. My black Quarter Horse gelding, Jackson is quite the Mr. Personality. When we are walking to the ring I ride in at home, we pass the kennel where our dogs are. A lot of times he looks at them and does the “sup nod”. He also does it when I’m coming to the pasture with his feed. He also likes to “mumble” by gently flapping his lower lip up and down. I think it would be hilarious if we added a voice to him mumbling and made a show called “Mr. Jack”. He cracks me up!

  31. My Pony Charlie just loves giving me warm loud welcomes. Everyday when I go out to his pasture, he’ll canter up to me while whinnying as loud as he can. It’s so cute and sweet! Plus when he does that, he nickers for a treat.

  32. My 6 year old twh’s talent is his lips! He uses his lips as fingers to pet the cat, mess up my hair,and snatching any item of mine he thinks he needs! Gotta love my boy!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here