What is horse communication? Many people think that horses are silent animals, that they never use horse comunnication and never talk to one another.
But this is not true at all! Horses communicate using horse communication to talk in many different ways! Just because they don’t always use sounds to
talk to one another doesn’t mean that they don’t use horse communication!
This particular page on Learn about Horses is about horse communication.
Whinny A rather loud, bugling and free sounding call that is one of the most loved sounds horses make.
Translations Hi, whos that? Hey! Im over here!
Neigh A sound that is almost like a whinny, just a little bit deeper.
Translations Hello, can you see me? I can see you!
Nicker The best and most welcoming horse sound in the world. The nicker is a low, rumbling sound that is made
in the horses throat. You might hear this sound when a horse greets another horse or you! – or at feeding time.
Translations Hello, I missed you! Mmm, whats that? It sure smells great! Welcome back, Im glad to see you!
Snort A sound that horses make by pushing all the air in their lungs out hard through their nostrils. It sounds
quite a lot like the snort you make when you are objecting to something except its a lot louder and more fluttery.
Translations Oh, watch out! Whats that? I dont like it! Its scary! Whos that guy? He looks suspicious!
Blow A big exhale, that sounds like your sigh, just louder and a lot deeper.
Translations Is there anything new going on? Not much is happening. Things arent so bad.
Squeal A high-pitched, ear-piercing scream that is so loud that it can be heard from hundreds of meters away.
Translations – Hey! Stop it! Cut it out! Ouch, that hurt me! Im warning you, if you dont stop that then Im going to really get mad!
Grunts and groans These sounds are all kind of the same. Grunts and groans are often made if the horse is exercising, being rubbed or massaged.
Translations Ugg, this is pushing my fitness. Oh, that feels nice! Hmm, thats good.
Sighs and sniffs A horses sigh sounds just like yours only its much louder. A horses sniff sounds like the sound you make when you
blow your air out of your nostrils.
Translations Uh, Im bored. Mmm, Im rather tired. Time to hit the sack. Lifes not that bad.
Roar This sound is a mix between a neigh, whinny and a squeal. It has the deep, hoarse sound of a neigh, the loud, imposing sound
of the whinny and the enraged scream of the squeal. Normally you would only hear this sound coming from a furious stallion.
Translations – Get out of here right now! You are trespassing on my territory! I will attack you if you dont get lost immediately!
Flat back ears When you notice a horses ears starting to pin back against its head, moving towards the beginning of its neck, get ready for anything!
If youre riding a horse and its ears are back slightly then its just listening to your voice, but if its ears are pinned back against it skull then it is
getting very angry.
Translations Ooh, Im getting mad! Youre making me angry! If you dont stop what youre doing I will make you wish you had!
Pricked forward, stiff ears Ears that are pointed forward and are being held stiffly in place mean that the horse is alert.
Translations Hey, whats that? Whats that noise? Thats an unusual sound!
Relaxed, loosely forward ears When a horses ears are like this they look just like the pricked forward, stiff ears except they dont have that
Translations What a lovely day! Things are really nice out here, I really like this place.
Uneven ears (One pointing to the front and one pointing to the back) When a horses ears are like that they are just plodding along.
Translations (Sigh). Theres nothing going on here. Isnt there any action around this place?
Stiff, twitching ears If a horses ear looks like they do when theyre pricked forwards and stiff except that they are twitch be very careful!
You must watch out when youre riding a horse and he/she does this. It could mean that its getting ready to bolt.
Translations (Shake). Whats that?! Im getting anxious! If something scars me now Im ready to run for the hills!
Airplane ears When a horses ears are hanging on either side of its head. This means that its bored or tired.
Translations (Yawn). Im so tired! Nothing ever happens round here. Boring. Bored.
Droopy ears When a horses ears sag down a droop to its sides it means its tired and ready to get to bed.
Translations Mmm . . . Im awfully tired. I could really do with some warm bran mash and a nice loose box. Time to bed down for the night.
Tail switches hard and fast When you see a horse doing this then you know youve got a very, very, VERY angry equine on your hands.
Dont go anywhere near a horse in this state. Ill strike out and hurt you before you can do anything!
Translations I have so had it! I will just attack anyone who dares to go near me! Im so mad now I think Im gonna explode!
Tail held high When a horses tail is held up high, flying in the air like a big banner then its say it is proud and high spirited!
Translations I am horse and Im proud of it! Look at me! Im so stunning! I am the greatest! I am the best!
Clamped-down tail If a horses tail is like this it means it is scared.
Translations Im so scared! Please cant someone help me! Whats going to happen to me?!
Tail swatting against flanks When a horse does this its just getting rid of some annoying thing that decided to land on or touch it.
Translations Ouch! Oh, good! Got that silly fly!
Make sure you watch your horses communication signals! Itll help you understand how your horse is feeling and will help you to learn more about
these amazing creatures! And remember to watch your horses eyes they talk with their eyes too, just like us!