By Lauren Fruen
A HORSE born with no ears is defying the odds to live a happy life at a rescue centre.
Pia, five, was born missing her right lobe completely and with a stump on the left side of her head.
Studies have shown that horses use their ears to communicate and talk to their equine friends.
They are understood to use the subtle movements to talk and they are so important that if its ears are covered up another horse struggles to know what it is thinking.
But Pia – who could have struggled to be part of the herd – is living a happy life among other horses at rescue centre Habitat for Horses.
She was rescued along with 11 other horses and vets believe she was born without her ears.
Spokesman for Habitat for Horses, Amber Barnes, said: “She is completely missing her ear on the right side and only has a deformed nub on the left.
“She does seem to have some hearing out of the left deformed nub. It looks as though her ears are pinned back.
“Horses use their ears a lot to communicate with one another and we humans usually watch horse ears to better understand what they are communicating.
“Not having ears can be pretty problematic for a horse. Without them, interactions can be more difficult.
“The vets aren’t positive about the origin of Pia’s condition. We believe it may be a congenital defect, meaning she was born with it.
“Looking at a horses ear position and tail position can tell you if they are listening, relaxed, nervous, scared.
“Often, if a horse’s ears are pinned back they aren’t too happy so if you were to look at Pia, you might think she is pretty unhappy as it looks as though her ears are pinned back.
“However, Pia does an impressive job holding her own among the other horses. We don’t have to keep her separate.
“Some horses that live in particularly cold climates may suffer frostbite and lose parts of their ears. A newly born foal could lose their ears mostly to frost bite.
“However, the vet believes Pia’s condition is congenital and she was born with only the deformed nub of an ear and no ear on the other side.
“Pia doesn’t seem too concerned about her condition and she has lived with a group of horses for years without many issues.
“She can really hold her own in the herd and I think other horses who live with her read the rest of her body language and determine her tone effectively.
“A new horse may have some trouble but would likely learn pretty quickly to understand her.”