Well that’s a lot of adverbs in one sentence. Do horses not know if they need them? I doubt that.
I have two very different mares. Bailey is the princess. She is regal looking and acting, with feminine facial features. She loves attention, is an extremely picky eater except for treats, and hates mud puddles. She was a past show horse, so shaving her muzzle was not a big deal at all. I even bought her a beautiful ruby Andis cordless electric shaver.
When I bought Cheyenne I thought I would clean up my new mare to look like a princess too. Cheyenne’s looks and actions are tomboy through and through. She has a stocky build, will eat anything you put in front of her, has a big head, and likes mud puddles. But she does not tolerate anyone messing with her whiskers. No one, no way, no how. Believe me, I had tried everything and everyone’s advice.
It was now time to access the google gods for help. Who would have thought there would be so much discussion on horse’s whiskers! I soon learned how very important horse whiskers are to a horse. It is such a big deal that Germany and Switzerland governments have banned shaving the whiskers on a horses muzzle. Horse eyes are positioned in such a way that objects immediately in front of or below the horses nose are beyond their range of vision. Their horse whiskers help them see these objects. Horses grazing are constantly relying on their whiskers to guide their muzzles toward edible food and away from other objects. The long whiskers near their eyes also warn them when there is a risk of bumping into obstacles, such as branches poking up out of the grass. Whiskers are thick, rigid vibrissal hairs with shafts made up of non-living protein called keratin and they contain no nerves or nerve receptors. Each whisker grows from a specialized follicle containing an encapsulated blood sinus that is rich in sensory nerve receptors. When a whisker comes into contact with anything in the environment, it vibrates or bends and stimulates the sensory receptors in the follicle to instantaneously alert centers in the brain to trigger immediate motor responses.
This seems to all make sense although I haven’t noticed a problem with Bailey grazing when I shaved her, but my pastures are pretty horse friendly.
So this is great news for Cheyenne since I will not be shaving her whiskers or Baileys. I have to admit though, to me a shaved muzzle is prettier, but if it is not in the best welfare for my horse it won’t be done.