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Horse Articles :: A Horse's Body Language

Horse's Body Language

As you may have figured out, horses do not seem to speak our language. That is why we must learn to adapt and speak theirs. Have you noticed the swivel of their ears, the movements of their hips and the expressions on their face? These things are the way horses communicate with each other and us.

In order to understand their language first we must understand what our body language says to them. Waving arms around in a desperate attempt to get the halter on is sure to cause some alarm. Running towards them in a pasture instead of approaching them calmly can give them the image of a surprise attack by a predator. Remember, when it comes down to it, no horse is bombproof so when you are around your horse make sure your body language is slow and calm. Keeping yourself calm is the first step to helping a horse remain calm.

Horses speak with both ends of their body - unlike us humans who speak with only the top half. Not only are the back and front the ends where the signals come from they are also the ends where injuries to humans come from, so watch what they are telling you.


Almost all horse people know that when a horse has his/her ears laid flat back something is amiss. The horse could be frightened or in most cases angry. This is a time to watch both ends of the horse's body carefully.

Yet this gesture is not always dangerous. The horse could either be listening to commands or noises coming from behind or just be resting out of boredom. As you come to know your horse you will begin to learn the true difference.


Not really anything to worry about right? Happy horses have their ears forward - sometimes but not always. As a horse directs his or her attention to something its ears usually follow. Also ears sticking up high can be signs of mischief or the horse being very alert. Good time to remind your horse you are in charge if his/her attention span flies around during your ride.


Most people approach grooming as something that just needs to be done and nothing else. In truth grooming your horse establishes a bond with you and that horse just as a horse would bond with other horses through grooming in the wild.

If you treat a horse roughly or only do a quick once over with the brush the horse can only assume you are a rough or harsh handler. Whereas if you spend a lot of time grooming and caring for the horse you create a trusting bond with it.

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