What’s Your Horse Saying? Here’s How To Know…

portrait-of-a-young-man-with-horseIf you’ve spent quite some time with your horse, there is a good chance you understand what they feel.

No matter how much you know them, there is still a good chance that you find some gestures confusing.

What does he want when he is clacking his teeth? Is he clamping his tail? What does that mean? More importantly, can you recognize signs of hesitation or fear?

As we rely on spoken communication extensively, it is natural for us to only focus on the horse’s vocalization to try to understand what he wants. But like most other animals, they communicate through expressions, postures and gestures.

Here are a few important pointers to understand your horse:

Understanding The Head Carriage

The movement of a horse’s head can tell you a lot about what he wants to say. Here are the cues you should look for:

  • Elevated head: An elevated head means that your horse is focused on something at a distance and is wondering if he should let it go or go investigate. As its handler you should know he is not paying attention to you and might bolt off in a second.
  • Lowered head: A lowered head means that your horse is feeling good. His ears might also hang to the sides. When approaching him in such a position, remember to call his name to avoid startling him.
  • Snaking the head: Lowering the head and moving it from side to side shows aggression. If you see a horse doing this, it is a red flag. Make sure you defuse the situation leading to this aggressive behavior immediately and keep your distance.

Understanding The Ears

upset-horse-in-nature-ready-to-chargeThe horse’s ears also say a lot about him. Here’s what you should look out for:

  • Turned back: If the ears are turned back but not pinned, the horse might be listening to something behind him. He may be deciding whether he should check out the sound or stay.
  • Turned out sideways: If the ears are turned out to the sides, the horse might not be aware of what’s happening around him. He might be sleeping. In such a situation, don’t just rush ahead to pat him. He may be startled and might push you away. Don’t get close to him until his head is turned towards you.
  • Rapid swiveling: If the ears are swiveling aggressively, this indicates that the horse is anxious or alert. Hey may be alerted by a stranger, smell or a sound.

Make sure you understand your horse’s body language. You will be surprised at how it will help you train him and cater to his needs. Stay tuned for more tips on understanding horse behavior and body language. Don’t forget to check out the horse training videos on our website.

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