I tried to think of a cute title and didn't do so well. My apologies. Anyway it describes the issue I am having (if it IS an issue).
I've owned quite a few horses and have never had one be as vocal as my semi-new five year old TWH, Reb. Background: I bought Reb in November. I haven't gotten to know him as well as I would have liked by now because we had a horrendous winter here that kept me from doing a lot of horsie stuff (this might be the root of this issue). Reb is an adorable horse with the sweetest personality ever and he is a wonderful ride.
However Reb is a HUGE talker. I have never had a horse neigh so much in my life. He isn't constantly neighing but it's enough that it's concerning me.
He neighs and neighs when I have him out of his pasture; it's the "is anyone else around here?" sound because he will be looking around while doing it, and other horses will respond. After they respond once, however, they usually don't respond again, but that doesn't stop Reb! He continues neighing (in my face a lot of times which is far from fun).
In the saddle Reb has neighed a few times when we pass other horses but he is an excellent listener and goes past without a fuss when I ask him to pass them. On the ground when I am saddling up or grooming or bathing or even doing groundwork at times, it's another story.
Today for example: I gave Reb his first bath of the year. Reb stood well and didn't dance around but he was constantly turning his head and neighing, looking and listening for other horses. I noticed a few times that he definitely wasn't paying attention to me and I'd have to poke him gently to make sure he knew I was going around him with the nose in case it might frighten him etc. That was irritating because I wanted his full attention on ME and where I was around him during bath time so I wouldn't "appear out of nowhere" in his eyes and cause a possible accident.
(Here's a picture of Mr. Neigh Happy after his bath today:)
Does anyone have any advice about this? I think this might be a "I do not see you as my leader and do not trust you to keep me safe - I need another horse with me!" If that's the case, I probably need to do more groundwork with him and spend more time just loving on him so he will see me as a leader.
(Some people say that he is just a talkative horse... but I've had talkative horses before who loved getting into everyone's business. This isn't what Reb is doing.)
What do you all think? Am I on the right track or could this be something different entirely?