Understanding Horse Communication enables you to communicate with your horse
The communication between two individuals of two different species is of course not always easy. We as humans have to understand the horse language. We can´t expect the horse to learn our language.
We have to understand the horse so the horse can understand us!
The best way to learn horse language is to observe horses. Watch horses interacting in their natural environment.
How do horses `talk´ to each other?
Communication between horses is mainly visual. Different body, head or ear positions give a signal to other horses.
For example a horse lifts the head up high and has his ears pricked forward. This is an alarm signal for other horses.
Horses also have great observational skills. They are able to read the smallest cues in other horses bodylanguage (and ours!).
They also use sounds like grunts, snorts or whinnies.
Identity or rank is communicated through different smells of faeces, urine or bodysmell. Flehmen or curling the upper lip is a response to smelling pheromones.
They also touch each other. Touch and smell increases the bond between the mare and the newborn foal.
"Get out of my way!" The dominant horse moves the other horse from behind. This is exactly the position we have to be in if we want to move a horse forward or when lungeing.
Horses are not always gentle with each other. If the inferior horse doesn´t respond quick enough the dominant horse will kick or bite.
The pecking order is a very rigid hierarchic structure. If needs to be the dominant horse will defend his position in a fight.
Licking and chewing is a sign of relaxation. If you see this when training a horse, you know that you are on the right track.
This horse clearly shows signs of distress, fear and resignation. Not an expression I would like to see on my horses!