Muzzle Muscle Marvels

How DO horses show so much dexterity with their muzzles? I was thinking about this last week when grooming Piper after a ride. As I watched him wriggle and curl his muzzle in apparent delight during his rub down, I marveled at the movements.

Here is Piper looking unenthused before his ride. Ho-hum.

And then turning increasingly animated during his post-ride grooming.

It is admittedly difficult for me to groom and take media at the same time. But hopefully, you get the picture.

Later that same day, while riding Shiloh, I noticed his parted lips. I only see him do this when he is relaxed. I like to think he was enjoying that day’s quiet stroll around the pasture as much as I was.

Shiloh’s slightly offset jaw revealed a tooth gently peeking out of that droopy lower lip (the jaw issue is a result of allegedly being kicked in the face as a foal). You can’t see the tooth in the photo above, but here is a clearer picture from a 2019 ride. I smile whenever I see that cheeky grin.

I didn’t want to leave Bear devoid of attention. Now that he is retired from riding, I sometimes watch him watching me interact with the other horses. I wonder if he feels left out. So after finishing my activities with Piper and Shiloh, I offered him a good body scratch with my fingernails. But he wasn’t in the mood and sauntered away, apparently unimpressed with my offering.

I wouldn’t be getting any funny faces from him to capture on camera that day. But Bear did show excellent muzzle muscle control while scarfing down a mid-day hay snack!

When I look through old photos, I have quite a few that feature my horses performing other dazzling feats of muzzle and muscle. Through mutual grooming, picking up items on the ground, making the flehmen response and yawning, the horses show off their abilities.

Makes me smile every time I look at them. 🙂

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