Everyone who owns a horse has many times wondered what their horse is thinking. There are steps you can take to learn what your horse is trying to communicate.
Look at the horse's ears. The position of a horse's ears can be a good indicator of the horse's mood.
• Pricked ears indicate he is interested in something.
• Flattened ears may indicate he is angry.
• One or both ears facing backwards can mean that your horse is angry, listening backwards, is afraid, or is sleepy.
• If your horse's ears face forward, this is a sign of listening. Flared nostrils and stiffened ears can signal fear.
Look at your horse's facial expression.
• Bared teeth show he is unhappy about something.
• A happy, relaxed horse may half close his eyes.
Look at the horse's actions.
• Nibbling - horses may try to reciprocate being groomed by someone they like by nibbling his or her shoulder, hands etc.
• Angry or frustrated horses will often swish their tails. Tail swishing is a sign of agitation and it warns other horses to keep their distance.
• Flattened tail - in common with canines, horses can dangle their tail between their back legs as a sign of fear.
• Stamping feet may show a horse is uncomfortable, agitated or simply excited and eager to move around. Heavy stamping is usually a sign of anger or fear.
• Bucking is a sign of playfulness, often with ears back and squeals. Young horses will play this way in the field. Bucking can also indicate fear and uncertainty, especially evident when a young horse is first being broken in; after all, it's a way to get that unfamiliar
Check out the horse's nose.
• A wrinkled nose might mean disgust or irritation.
• A "long nose" can indicate a wish for grooming.
Decipher horse sighs. Horse sighs are considered to be a quality similar to human sighs. Horse sighs carry their own meanings: A sigh followed by a shudder or relaxing of muscles denotes relaxation, contentment, or relief.
Consider other horse noises. Other noises made by horses can help you work out the mood of your horse: Groaning - this can indicate pain.
Snorting - this is often a sound of excitement, whether it be going faster, seeing another horse, enjoying themselves; or they could be clearing the nostrils.
Neighing - neighing needs to be interpreted in conjunction with body language.
Remember that an angry horse can be a dangerous horse.
Get to know your horse, listen with your eyes and you’ll find you will have your horse figured out in no time!