Updated: Aug 21, 2020
Horses are incredibly smart animals. Although they are not human, they find a way to communicate with us. The problem is, do we understand. In this post you will learn everything about the movements that horses make to tell us things. The turn of an ear. The flick of a tail. All these are signs that horses are trying to communicate with us. With these basic facts you will be a equine expert in no time. Now lets trot over to the post riders, or shall I say soon-to-be horse whisperers.
One of the most important signs to notice in equine behavior is anger. When a horse is angry they will often have nostrils flared, teeth on display, jerking of tail, whites of eyes visable or pinned back ears. They might stomp/strike their forelegs, pawing forelegs, or raise their hind legs. These are very important signs to notice because your horse is telling you that they are angry. Look to see if what you are doing is annoying the horse. If more dangerous behavior such as rearing immediately step back and let your horse collect him/herself. Once they have calmed down with caution approach them. If your horse neighs and begins to pick up his/her front legs step back as they may be trying to rear. Give your horse some space and once you feel like they have calmed down give them a reassuring pat on the back to let them know they are okay.
A content/ happy is the best kind of horse. Your horse is happy with what is going on. A content/ happy horse will have relaxed nostrils, loose jaw, loose/swinging tail, legs lightly pawing at the ground, relaxed body (not tense) and he/she might chew inside their mouth. A happy horse means that whatever you are doing to your horse is working. Make sure to apply the same behavior to keep your horse happy 24/7.
You never want your horse to be scared. If you notice these signs then give your horse a loving pat or stroke to make them feel happy again. You may notice swiveling ears, tight/pinched/pursed mouth/muzzle, splayed forelegs, flared nostrils, tense eyes, clamped down tail, trembling of body. Nobody wants a scared horse, so do your best to calm your horse.
These are just the basics of equine mood learning. There is so much your four legged friend can tell you so constantly be on the look out for new behavior. Horses are such smart animals and the fact that they find a way to communicate with us is even smarter. In conclusion, make sure to understand the body language of your horse as he/she may be telling you something important.