Decoding Equine Communication: Part 2 – Understanding a Horse’s Body Language

Unveiling the Secrets: What a Horse's Eyes, Tail, Hind Legs, and Overall Body Posture Reveal

A horse’s body language can tell you much about their feelings and thoughts. Since they rely primarily on nonverbal communication, like movements and expressions, you can more easily understand your horse’s communication if you know what to look for. In part one, we reviewed what a horse’s ears, forelegs, and muzzle reveal. Now, we would like to dive deeper into horse body language, giving you further clues about what your horse, or those you ride here at Lost Trails Ranch in Mulberry, AR, are thinking.

What a Horse’s Eyes Can Tell You

Rapid Darting: It is likely that the horse wants to escape if his eyes are rapidly darting. He likely feels trapped if his eyes flicker from side to side, and he has also bolted or been spooked. Try to calm him down, remove him from the situation, and keep yourself safe.

horse eye

Windows to the Soul: A Horse’s Eyes Speak Volumes, Reflecting Their Deepest Emotions

Tension: If you see that your horse has tightness around his eyes, it likely indicates fear, discomfort, or stress. Looking for tightness at the corners of the eyes or upper eyelids allows you to respond quickly to avoid larger problems.

What a Horse’s Tail Can Tell You

Quick Swishing: When a horse’s tail slaps slowly from side to side, he is likely trying to control flies. However, if the motion is rapid and involves an up-and-down motion as well, he may be angry or irritated. It could mean he will buck or kick, which means you should get out of the way quickly.

A Raised Tail: A raised tail usually is a sign of excitement. Some horses get keyed up quicker than others, which is often true of Arabians. Horses with raised tails are prone to spooking or bolting. Helping a horse regain his focus by getting him to work will help him calm down.

What a Horse’s Hind Legs Can Tell You

Raised Hind Legs: When a horse has one of his hind legs off the ground, he is likely irritated. He may be dealing with a horsefly. Or he may be ready to kick the person or horse behind him. Look out for other warning signs that the horse is annoyed and ready to kick, like pinned ears and an elevated head.

Cocked Hind Legs: One situation where horses cock their hind legs is when they are relaxing. If his head is lowered and he occasionally shifts his weight back and forth, he is likely just resting. If the shifting is more rapid and it doesn’t look like he can get comfortable, this may indicate pain. You should contact your veterinarian. Cocking can also indicate irritation. If his ears are pinned back, his head is elevated, and he keeps looking over his shoulder, get out of the way and try to remove the thing that is bothering him.

horse training

Every Line, Curve, and Stance Conveys the Unspoken Emotions of a Horse

What a Horse’s Entire Body Can Tell You

Tension: Pay attention if your horse has stiff and rigid movements. It may indicate that he is stressed, nervous, or in pain. Some tension may be addressed with desensitization. You may need to talk to your vet about dental issues or back pain that he may experience.

Signs of Fear: If a horse is trembling or looks anxious, he is likely afraid. This is sometimes common with horses that have been rescued. Be patient, and take your time to help your horse calm down. You may want to speak with an experienced trainer for exceptionally nervous horses.

Bond With Horses at Lost Trails Ranch

Our exploration of horse body language has only begun to reveal the depth of their magnificent nature. These remarkably intelligent creatures continue to captivate us. Whether you’re a seasoned equestrian or a novice enthusiast, we invite you to engage with the extraordinary horses at Lost Trails Ranch in Mulberry. Experience the awe-inspiring connection and interact with these amazing beings that will leave an indelible mark on your journey. We offer many horse-related activities, including trail riding and horse bonding. Contact our hospitality team today!

Written by Taiye

Monday, Jun 26

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