Q: Can a horse sneak up on you?
A: It’s late afternoon on the longest day of the year. You’re out in the country, perched on an old stile. You’d think it’d be quiet, but it isn’t at all. Insects drone. Willows whisper. Behind you, in the hedgerow, the birds are celebrating the solstice. You’ve got your wrens and your robins, your larks, your fieldfares. You’ve got starlings, which—have you heard one? It’s like squeezing a frog.
Beyond the hedge, there’s the road, and the cars whooshing by. Beyond that, there’s a river, maybe the Clyde. Then there’s the sky and the silence beyond, and you can hear that over everything, roaring in your ears.
Other sounds filter in, only half-heard. Scraps of sound, you might call them, fading in and then out—someone blowing a bagpipe, then changing their mind. Sheep in the road. The rev of a motor. A quick snatch of music, just in your head. It’s loud and quiet at once, a thousand small sounds all vying for your attention. Each one holds a puzzle, like how do the insects co-ordinate their droning? Their song isn’t constant. It rises and falls, even stops here and there. How does it do that? Have they got a conductor?
Now, tell me this—do you remember your question, the one you’ve just asked?
Look over your shoulder. There’s a horse on your six.
TL;DR: Of course it can. A horse isn’t dainty, but never discount the power of distraction. A horse can sneak up on you any time, anywhere, as long as you’re not paying attention. You’ll be standing there dreaming, then pfbbbbbb in your ear. (That was a horse sound. Pfbbbbbb. That’s a horse.)
(I should’ve drawn a horse for this, shouldn’t I? That’s a potato cat, but it too might sneak up on you, given the chance.)