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How to understand horse body language

horse body language

Horse owners have tons of work in their hands when it comes to horse maintenance. Contrary to what some people might think (you’d be surprised at how many people think this, not only for horses but for other animals as well), providing food and water and basic hygiene conditions is not enough. Besides providing a nurturing environment, learning to understand horse body language is key to ensure their well-being.

Horse body language is one of the most important things to have an eye on since it can tell a lot about their emotional state of mind. Their communication is done primarily through body positions, which convey their feelings and emotions and even what a horse is thinking. Facial expressions can also be quite revealing when it comes to being able to read what a horse is trying to communicate.

Three key points to better understand horse body language

Horses can display many different body language cues, but this time we’d like to focus on these three:

Horse Ears

It’s possible to tell a lot about how a horse feels by looking at their ears; if they are pinned or laid back against the horse’s head this is a sign of anger, defensiveness, potential aggressive behavior, displeasure or unhappiness with their current surroundings. If your horse moves their ears back and forth and fast, this usually means stress or fear.

When Standing

A horse standing with its head and neck in a neutral, or “normal” position and their hind foot cocked is showing signs of being relaxed and at ease. On the contrary, if they’re standing with their head held high and pulled back, weight shifting to their hind legs, this is a sign that the horse is scared. Finally, when a horse is standing with their weight evenly distributed, kind of leaning forward and with their ears also pricked forward, this means that the horse is focused on something in front of them, like a treat, for example.

When Lying Down

Seeing a horse lying down often can be interpreted as a sign that something is wrong. The good news is that this is normal behavior, after all, horses need to sleep and rest for a while too. However, if your horse doesn’t want to get up, or is unable to do so, this could indicate that something is off.

There are other body language cues that are also good to keep tabs on, such as a horse’s head and eyes. Although all these are key areas that should be monitored in order to comprehend what a horse is trying to convey, it’s best to examine their body language as a whole instead of just paying attention to a specific area. Since every horse is unique, they might also develop their own communication style that you will be able to decipher more easily as you spend more time with them.

At GR Trailers we have a wide range of horse trailers and livestock trailers that will absolutely exceed your expectations. Check the catalog today or call us at 405-567-0567 for more info.