How To Understand Your Horse

If you wish to foster a positive and effective horse-human interaction, then there are many variables that Taragh Bracken requires individuals to consider when dealing with horses. This can help prevent accidents, especially when you are competing with your horse in a strenuous competition. Due to this hyper-sensitive nature, observing and reacting to their body language is imperative.

Methods of Communication

Did you know that horses communicate with all five senses? Surprisingly, this is not so similar to how human beings communicate with one another. Yes, they use sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing to interact amongst each other and humans. These beautiful creatures have evolved into groups, known as either herds or bands. Compared to humans, they will wag their tails, ears or mouth while enunciating their posture in order to gain attention or express a specific sentiment. Humans don’t use many other senses as opposed to sound to communicate, although there are tell-tale signs in their posture.

For instance, if your spouse or friend is upset about you for something, you’re likely to know for two reasons: They’re either passive aggressive and come off as cold and shallow, or you’ll hear radio silence… In which case, the lack of sound indicates their unhappiness.

Pay Attention To Their Eyes, Face and Ears

When visualizing your horse, one of the first things that must come to mind are its facial features. Within this realm, you might remember the vigorous back and forth motion of their ears, no matter the size or shape they may be. A few pointers will help you recognize how they’re feeling based on the motion of their ears.

  • Forward moving ears recall to relaxed, subdued behaviour. Perhaps your sweet pony is enjoying a sunny day in the meadow, or even listening attentively to the sounds that trail from behind. Not to worry here, you and your horse are in the clear!
  • If your beauty’s ears are spiked up backwards, then they are either scared of something or interested by some new phenomenon. As a caretaker, rider or owner, you need to beware of this. It is highly possible that your horse will become aggressive and may accidentally hurt you (a horse’s kick is not a pretty feeling!) in the heat of the moment. They often kick, bite or lunge forward when alert, fearful and aware of their surroundings.

It’s Not Always Obvious

Along with the positioning of their ears, it’s evident that an elevated head, wide eyes where you can practically see the entirety of the white, and a lunged neck backwards all dictate that your sweet horse is about to run away. Younger horses will use the “snapping” mechanism, where they open up their mouth big and close it sharply to make a snapping noise. This is a protective strategy for younger equine as well as mares during their heat season.

The Sounds of their Voice

Not the sounds of the thrashing hills that these beauties roam throughout, but the sounds of their voice can help humankind identify exactly how they are feeling.

Neighs and Whinnies

There are four main categories to consider when dissecting equine vocalization, starting with the famous “neighs and whinnies”. This sound, often heard in a kid’s playroom on some sort of bauble or musical device, indicates to the world that the horse has gifted everyone with their presence. It is a sweet sign of acknowledgment.


The noise that is blurted out in the movies when a horse sees a mouse is called a “squeal”. If the mouse analogy doesn’t do it for you, then think of the famed Disney movie, Beauty and the Beast, when Belle’s horse is surrounded by wolves and runs away for dear life. This evidently means that the horse’s nose is sniffing danger, and is striking out to escape it as quickly as it can.


This sound is not as easily placed. A “nickers”-type sound alludes to this soft yet throaty murmur, thus encouraging the band to feed.


If you live on a farm somewhere in Whitby or Oshawa like Taragh Bracken, then this one is an obvious no-brainer. A snort occurs when the horse when another animal, such as a dog or a kitten, approaches the mare.

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