How To Understand Horse Gestures | Horse Communication And Behaviour ~ Friendly Eco Might

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

How To Understand Horse Gestures | Horse Communication And Behaviour


Horses have served the mankind from the prehistorical age to this day. Humans have used them for traveling and pleasure from very long time. A horse whose average speed is 44 kph can also maximise it to 88 kph! Do we know only this much about horses? No, there are many more things you got to know.

Just like us, horses too use facial expressions to communicate! Horse mainly uses its ears and nose to communicate with its community. The different postures/positions of these organs symbolise different moods of horses.


If his ears are pricked (straight-pointing upwards), he is really interested in something. If they are flattened, he is concentrating. But along with flattened ears, if it shows whites of his eyes and is baring his teeth, he is very angry and asking you to stop irritating him. When one or both of its ears are facing backwards, he must be either sleepy or afraid. And if someone is on his back, then probably he is listening to your talks. If the same is accompanied by flared nostrils and stiffened ears, then it might be a signal of danger. If his ears flop naturally, you can chill out because, your horse is calm and relaxed with half closed eyes. When his ears are pure flat and the tail is swinging, he is in bad mood and really very hungry.


When the horse is frustrated or angry, he starts swishing his tail indicating a sign of agitation and he warns other horses to maintain distance.
Swishing is normal when there are some insects or pests. Horses can even dangle their tail between legs as a sign of fear. It can also be accompanied by stamping feet heavily. If the horse stamps his feet lightly, then he is eager to move around or just simply feeling excited.

Bucking (when­ a head of a horse is downwards with his hind leg upwards) is actually a sign of playfulness. Nevertheless, it is usually seen in young horse when for the first time it is put on with weight on its back. A kinked tail is often perceived prior to a buck. Rearing up is a dual sided gesture where the horse tries to stand on its feet (hind part). It can be a sign of joy, as well as, irritation. If a horse rears-up with aggression when someone is on its back, then its a sure sign that the horse wants to get rid of the rider. A relaxed horse's head will normally hang low but it will raise if he is interested in your talks.


A wrinkled nose might mean that a horse is irritated or disturbed. A long nose can indicate a wish for spiffing up. The lower lip will be drawn back and the neck extended, as it enjoys the rub down.

What does a Horse's Sound Say?

If a horse is nickering, he is actually welcoming you or trying to seek attention (aren't horses just like us?). When a horse groans, he must be in pain. The horse feels joyful when he is snorting (usually when a horse sees a other horse). Apart from all these, a horse's sigh means he is bored. Just like human kids, even horses get bored very soon! There are many such things which are very similar to humans. Wasn't that interesting?

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The Author

Somanath Yadavalli is 19 year old guy, who is pursuing his B.Tech (Electronics and Communication Engineering) in The National Institute of Engineering, Mysore, Karnataka, India. He is managing several blogs from his own living room. His passion is to do something for his planet. Read more...

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