UNDERSTANDING A HORSE’S BODY AND VOCAL LANGUAGE IS VERY IMPORTANT IN GETTING AROUND HORSES. NOT UNDERSTANDING THE HORSE’S BODY AND VOCAL LANGUAGE COULD PUT YOU AND YOUR HORSE IN GREAT DANGER.
- Whites visible: angry, spooked, frightened (except in Appaloosas)
- Soft eye: normal, gentle
- Half closed: relaxed, resting, tired
- Wrinkled: worried
- Blinking: processing information
- Hard eye: angry, aggresive
- Pointing forward: listening, attentive, ready to work
- Pointing backward: listening behind, aware of going-ons behind
- One pointing forward one back: listening forward and back, listening to rider
- Rotating: lots going on, indecisive, nervous, curious
- Airplane ears (drooped to side): sleeping, depressed, drugged, sick
- Pinned back: aggressive, warning, angry
- Tight: angry, anxious
- Neutral: normal, gentle, relaxed
- Lower Lip drooping: sleeping, dozing, relaxed
- Chewing/Licking: acknowledgment
- Flared Nostrils: warning, angry, worked hard
- Low: relaxing, gentle, normal
- Level: listening, attentive, ready to work, gentle, relaxed
- High: alert, scared, nervous
- Stamping: angry, warning
- Pawing: angry, warning, disliking something, preparing ground for rolling
- Crab walking (stepping around): scared, frightened, nervous
- Hind leg rested: relaxed, dosing
- Hind leg raised: warning, angry, ready to kick
- Swishing: angry, irritated, or by flies
- Clamped: scared, afraid
- Flagged: happy, play
- Raised: happy, attentive
- Neutral: relaxed, attentive
- Turning hindquarters to you: ignorance
- Facing you: friendly
But always read the entire body’s language before deciding if the horse is angry, scared, or happy. A horse be stamping their foot but not necessarily angry at you
A neigh is a high sound with a “vibrato” to it. A neigh could mean a lot of things. (also called Whinny)
A neigh could vary from a happy greeting to a demanding-”Where is my grain!” Often horses neigh when feeding time comes around.
A nicker is a low sound that sounds like a muffled neigh. How I like to describe it: it is between a neigh and snort.
A nicker is friendly greeting-normally to a being they know.
A snort is puffing air through their noses to create vibrating which creates a sound.
Snorts-most of the time-happen when horses don’t like something. But it doesn’t mean they are unhappy. Like for instance, maybe they are snorting because you are taking them out of their stall at a different time.
A squeal is a high-pitched scream like noise. It sounds like a Neigh without happiness.
A squeal is normally accompanied by rolling eyes or seeing the whites of their eyes. When a horse squeals, it means it is frightened by something or really doesn’t like something. A horse may squeal when a horse comes by and nips them on their barrel.
A grunt is a noise that is distinctive
A grunt may mean a horse just finished a hard workout. Or it may mean that they have a discomfort or have an illness. It depends what it is accompanied with.