Do Horses Have Their Own Language – And Why Is It Important?
Most people know that animals, including horses, use body language to communicate. Unfortunately, though, most horse owners don’t pay as much attention to this as they should, and this can cause huge problems in the long run. Every flick of their tail or twitch of their ears means something, and it’s up to us as owners and riders to learn this language so that we can make sure the horse is okay and happy.
Before looking at horse body language, we also need to be aware of our own body language. Horses are sensitive creatures, and doing things like running up to them while they are in a pasture will only serve to scare them. Similarly, if you don’t put their halter on quickly and simply, they may also see you as a threat. All horses get spooked now and again, but by staying mindful as much as you can, and keeping calm yourself, you’ll help to keep your horse calm, too.
Horse body language involves all parts of their body, both front and rear. You need to pay attention to both ends to properly understand what they are trying to say. For example, most people know that when a horse has its ears pinned back, that means something is up- but in most cases, it means specifically that the horse is feeling angry. It’s always best to treat your horse with caution, even if you think they are relaxed- the more you get to know them, the easier you’ll find it to understand how they are feeling.
When your horse has their ears perked up forwards, that means they are focusing all their attention on something in particular. Often they do this when they are alerted by a sound, sight, or smell, but it can also mean that it is up to no good, so when this happens, make sure you regain their attention to keep them focused on what you are doing, especially when riding.
By far the most important way of bonding with your horse is by brushing them. You should make sure you do this regularly, so that your horse learns to trust you completely. The better your bond, the more your horse will respond to you, and the better you will understand their body language and emotions.