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Language movements of the horse


If your horse is really healthy it should be happy. Today's science has proved that human's body health significantly depends on his emotional and its mood. It is interesting that this point is true in horses. Now, how can you understand that your horse is happy or not? Just know your horse body language. It does not mean speaking with your horse. You should understand frame of your horse thought. Horses communicate extensively through body language. A horse immediately picks up on emotions and notices the most subtle movements. Take, for example, a group of horses grazing together. If the more dominant horse decides he wants a particular patch of grass where another herdmate is eating, he uses body language to tell his subordinate to move. He will lift his head toward the "lesser” horse, typically with his chin elevated and his ears pinned back. If the lower-ranking horse doesn’t move out of the way within a few seconds, the dominant horse will lunge toward him, mouth open and ears flattened, and will usually bite his herdmate’s shoulder or hindquarters. If the lesser horse shows any aggression in return, the leader will typically spin around and fire a series of rapid kicks. Following this introduction, we express different horse face expressions which helps you to understand its mood with a single look. You will learn the special language of horse that can help you have a translation of your horse's moods. Understanding the angle which horse looks at the world through it, is an important key to provide happy and enlivening environment. Horse, as a social animal, loss its freshness when it is under stress of loneliness and lacking companion. Horses which have the envy of lacking companion, easily fear since continuously have been a prey during their evolution period. Horses are herbivores. They eat plants. They rely on grazing grasses and leaves for feed. Grazing is an inherent behavior of horses which they completely show it. Horse is a grazing animal. In other words, the way the horse eats is an integral part of what makes a horse a horse. Since the horse is an ungulate, it is predictable that much of the behavior that is demonstrated is related to the consumption of forages. They are able to eat 18 hours in a day and take enough food to survive. For this goal, the horse digestive system must work constantly to remain healthy and grazing on forage 3times a day is needed to provide this demand. Movement, is one of the natural needs of horse which today has stopped partly comparing with its wild living. Horses have developed their bodies by passing kilometers of distances in open and wide pastures to find forage, and on this principle demand of exercise is a natural thing. Supply failure of some of these demands, has inappropriate result in behavior during inhabitancy in the barn. Cribbing manger edge, shaking head to left and right, stomping feet to ground are some examples of these nervous behaviors that are not observed in nature. Other less problematic also can appear when the horse is not happy. Head banging, rising up on the tip of hooves, and restlessness during standing are examples of this aspect. Understanding what causes your horse to be angry and nervous, is the key of solving this problem. In the following we discuss about this subject.

Horses are social animals and similar to other creators, possess a special and appropriate way to 
communicate with other horses.
Horses communicate in various ways, including vocalizations such
 as nickering, squealing or whinnying; touch, through
mutual grooming or nuzzling; smell; and body
language. Horses use a combination of ear position, neck and head height, movement, and foot stomping
 or tail swishing to communicate.
Because people rely so much on verbal communication, it’s natural to
 focus on a horse’s vocalizations when trying to figure out what he is saying. But like many animals, horses
 communicate much more through postures, gestures and expressions than they do with their vocal cords.

As a horse owner, you should understand if your horse is calm, feels danger? Is frightened or is ready to invade, with a single look. Facial expressions vary primarily by changes in the orientation of the ears and eyes; changes in the position of the lips, jaw, and eyelids; changes in shape of the nostrils; and contour changes of the skin surface, especially at the corners of the mouth as well as around the eyes and nostrils.When you can differentiate your horse face gestures and understand their meaning, you can understand your horse physical and mental mood. At the following this article tries to indicate different face gestures of a horse and that what does each of them means and what reasons cause them. Subtle changes in your horse’s posture, expression and movements can provide important clues to what he is thinking.

Relaxation: horses which are healthy and happy, are generally calm,
 especially during eating, grooming and even during riding. In this condition
, they
Keep their ears backwards, have a calm and placid look and their
look is neither on top nor down, but they keep it intermediately.
ear position of a bored or resting horse. Lower lip is loose,
 also indicating relaxation. The sclera of this horse's eye shows a bit of white,
but it is not rolled back in fear or anger.

Startling: By entrance to a different environment, fear will overcome the horse. This situation, is shown by a tense neck, head raised, chin and mouth tight. His eyes are a little wider than normal with worry wrinkles above them. His ears will be more erect than normal and pricked toward the fearful object. His attention can be distracted from the object. Gaze at everything attracts his/her attention and keeps the head intermediately.   

Anxiety: As the horse is a prey for predators in the nature, so always have the stress of being invaded. Ears that are flicking back and forth are a sign that the horse is in a heightened state of anxiety or alertness. He may be trying to locate the source of a frightening sound or smell, or he may be overwhelmed by too many stimuli. Sometimes, can even obviously observe that it has contracted the neck muscles. These signs also are observed in horses which are sick or frightened of other animals and even their owner during grooming.



Horses in addition to alterations in face gestures, will express their mental-emotional conditions. Now we indicate some behaviors of horses and explain them.

Nibbling: horses like to bite other horses, it can be mentioned as a game and fun for them. Pay attention that sometimes horses bite human. Horses also tend to bite when they are sick.

Kicking: horses kick during playing, sickness, or for defending. Be careful, horse may also kick during grooming.

Stomping feet into the ground: when the horse is angry, happy, weary or sick, stomps it's feet to the ground. Also if a horse separate from herd and enter a new group, shows this behavior. It should be noted that, stomping the ground is one of colic characteristics. If other signs of colic are observed concurrently, you should call the veterinarian immediately.

Pushing: this movement is one of signaling ways in horses. When a group of horses are eating food or traveling a direction, the stronger and greater horses push other horses and divert them from direction. Sometimes horses also push their coach during exercise or grooming.

Making sounds (Acoustical Expressions): A variety of sounds are produced by horses in order to communicate to each other. Some of them also make such sounds to communicate with their favorite people. These sounds include: weak whinny (a rumble like a howl), whinny with a relatively bass tone which is familiar to most people, a laughing-like sound which comes from bottom of throat, a laughing-like sound with closed lips and screaming which is a short and sharp sound. These are the sounds that horses mostly make and according to environmental conditions, these sounds can indicate relaxation or excitement.

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