Some day you must post a photo of the giant horse earmuffs I assume hunters use to protect horse hearing.
My friend really is a horse person. She lives on a farm with several right now, and she works at the large animal hospital at the University of Florida. Her family raised horses, and she was a big part of the local horse culture. She told me horses do their best to find ways to die (her way of putting it) no matter what you do to save them from their own...lack of brilliance. She gave me a long list of things horses do to try to off themselves, including eating too much, which is a very low risk for most other pets.
She didn't say a horse would react to a noise that was right behind it. She said distant lightning was sometimes enough to spur a fit. Any animal that lives in Florida and can't deal with lightning, from any direction, at any time, has a serious and species-specific handicap and will be provoked hundreds of times per year. This is one of the world's lightning hotspots.
Actually, I know of one other creature that could never deal with lightning. I knew an old man who used to hide under his bed during storms.
The family of another friend had a multi-hundred-acre thoroughbred operation near here, and he ended up becoming a professional trainer. He told me he believed a horse was roughly as intelligent as a chicken. He said they had personalities and were smart enough to hate to lose races, but that was about it. He showed me the way fences around here are designed. The upper boards are on the outside, so if a horse runs into one at top speed, it pulls the nails out and knocks the board loose instead of delivering a fatal blow to the horse's head. This does not suggest great cleverness on the animal's part.
I think most people know that cattle and pigs don't usually kill themselves by gorging on their feed or running into fences. I'm not suggesting cattle are bright, but when my grandfather gave his cattle silage, he didn't have to chase around behind them, making sure none of them got tummy aches. You can put cattle in barbed wire and never have a problem, and if you use a board fence, it doesn't matter which side the nails are on. You can also shoot around cattle. They don't seem to care. I have noticed that they hate dogs, however, and will even try to chase them into a truck's cab.
My parents grew up in Appalachia, back when people actually rode horses and mules instead of driving. My mother always said a horse would stand in the rain while a mule walked to cover. My dad told me a horse caught in a fence would tear itself to pieces trying to get loose, while a mule would wait for help. He also said his grandfather complained that a horse would eat twice as much as a mule yet could only do half as much work.
I don't know if the things I have been told are true. I am NOT a horse person. The only horses on my property have been reduced to really nice jackets and shoes. They wear better than cowhide, and the skin is naturally waterproof. Also, thick horsehide will protect you from road rash when you fall off a motorcycle. It's considerably better than Kevlar. I have pants made from it, too, but I put them away because am afraid of attracting the wrong kind of attention, if you get my drift. You can wear them on an enduro ride in Utah without confusing anyone, but I wore them to South Beach.
While I was making a real effort to get information on horse intelligence, due to the issue with the meddling neighbor, I got conflicting information, and it seemed to me that a person's opinion of horse intelligence depended a great deal on how much they liked horses and not all that much on how well they knew them.
If I had horses and lived next door to a person who enjoyed shooting, as was his legal right, I would take the time to learn about desensitizing my animals. In fact, given the lightning we have here, I would do that even if no one around here fired guns. Seems like common sense, and I can't see how it would be fair to an animal to fail to provide this training.
Under Florida law, if my neighbor's horse runs into a wall and dies while I'm squirrel hunting, there is no possibility that I can be sued or arrested; the cops would get back in their car without talking to me. Even I know that horses can be desensitized (hello, fox hunting, cavalry with rifles, warmstrong in predator mode), so I don't see how a horse owner can hold me responsible for his or her own slack attitude.
I have used my pasture for practice with a .308, and I have no plans to make any changes. I believe the continued influx of northerners presents a real danger to the local way of life, and if we make any concessions, they may become permanent. Eventually, they will win, because Florida is never going to stop filling up with socialist geezers.
I agree 100%. I have a neighbor who shoots fireworks a lot. I have no idea why. I find the noise slightly annoying, but my annoyance is dwarfed by the pleasure I get from knowing he is free to do it. I am glad to put up with the noise. I would never dream of complaining, and I hope he keeps it up.If some one wants to break dance, I dont have to join in, just wait for them to tire. People that launch fireworks, eventually run out. It is the fear that they are not like you that drives some people to be neurotic, to control what they dont understand is a freedom. I like my choices. YOU should allow for your activities to build awareness of your freedoms, that everybody should have. Including the ability to disagree.
I heard a lot of shots at night last month. A neighbor called to explain that he was killing armadillos and possums. Nice of him to call, but totally unnecessary. I told him I hoped I wasn't bothering him with my shooting, and he said he and his wife might come join me if they heard me. He doesn't care at all. Of course, he's from Alabama.
Is there a good excuse for failing to get a horse used to gunfire? Since my horse experience is mainly limited to putting jackets on and applying glue, I would not know.