5 Hacks For Happy Horse Ears
Oh yes... the age old problem of getting your horse's ears forward for that perfect photo. Why is it so hard?!
Seriously, it feels like behind every photo is some poor friend jumping up and down doing something crazy in the hope that your horse might not look like a grump for just one second...
Well, I've had some fair practice at this, in fact it's one of the most common things people say to me when I arrive at a photo shoot.
"Good luck getting her ears forward!" or "He never puts his ears forward for a photo!"
So over the last year or so I'd say I've had some good practice at this... So I've put 5 things below that you can try, to hopefully save your poor friend having to run around like a crazy person for that perfect photo!
A quick note on technique before we start...
Don't continuously make these noises... use them sparingly. Often horses will get bored of the noise and it won't get their attention after a while, so make sure you're ready to take the photo before you shake or crunch! Also, try moving from one side to the other, and walking towards or away from the horse whilst making the noise, moving around usually helps!
1. Stones in a tupawear.
This one seems pretty obvious - but I always start with this. You can find stones almost anywhere, and because they're quite hard, a few of them in a small tupawear can make quite a sharp noise which will often get your horses ears forward. You will get a similar effect with a bucket or feed scoop.
2. Crisp packet.
Not always something that you'll have obviously lying around, but anything that makes a similar noise to this might get your horses attention. The familiar sound of a polo packet usually makes them pull a cute face in the hope they might get something yummy.
3. Car keys.
Usually someone on the yard will have a set of car keys. Give these a little jingle and see if you can get your horses ears forward.
4. Moving a bucket.
This is quite handy if you're on your own. Get into position and put a feed bucket by your feet, when you're ready to take the photo gently move it across the floor with your foot. The sound of the bucket and the sight of it moving usually gets a flicker of ears forward.
5. Putting a coat on a broom handle.
This sounds ridiculous but it does often work. Be safe with this one as some horses will spook at this! I usually get someone to stand just behind me and put a jumper or coat on broom handle and hold it up... I'm constantly monitoring the horses reaction, if they get too upset I will stop straight away. Safety first, try this when the horse is in a safe space (also try this at your own risk) and be sensible.
Sometimes it feels like our horse is never going to put their ears forward... don't get stressed or do anything that will seriously spook or upset your horse. Sometimes it's worth being patient and waiting for the perfect moment. Perhaps someone is going to walk past to empty their wheelbarrow, or maybe someone is bringing another horse in from the field, these are all little things that catch your horses attention and often cause them to put their ears forward, so be ready.
Remember, don't overuse these tactics, if you want them to work time and time again you need to use them sparingly. There are lots of other ways to get your horse to put your ears forward, but these are just 5 that I use often during my photo shoots.
If you'd like an equine photo shoot...
Lunar Photography - Equine & Dog Photographer in Derbyshire