Animated guide to horse body language | Animated Series Episode 2


While humans communicate using vocalisation Horses mostly communicate through body language It is our responsibility to learn and to listen to this language There are many things to consider when looking at horse body language Pay attention to ear position Tail position The nose and the mouth, the eyes The overall body posture and behaviour Many people assess how the horses feel by the position of the ears The ears do more than just communicate it is also an indicator of where the horse’s attention is focussed. With ears facing forward the attention is directed ahead. Ears to the side can indicate sleepiness or attention to the side Ears back can be a sign of submission or fear Moving on to the tail High tail carriage can signal excitement A lifted tail can indicate the horse is excited or fearful Swishing tail is a sign of annoyance The mouth and the nose provide information about the horse’s emotional state Snapping is an appeasement action Licking and chewing can be an indication of a dry mouth and stress A tight mouth can indicate feelings of fear, conflict and anger A long long nose without a tight mouth can be an sign of pleasure Wrinkly nostrils indicate annoyance or pain. The more wrinkly the nose the more annoyance or pain Moving on to the eyes Horses are social animals and rely on the capacity to live with others They avoid physical violence and will use aggressive threats before resorting to attack Head thrust is an aggressive threat where the head is lowered The neck is stretched and the ears are flat back This signals other horses to stay away or move away Strike threat is another aggressive threat that is quick striking of the foreleg Bite threat is where the neck is stretched and the mouth is open Rump presentation is a mild form of kicking threat It is important to look at your horse’s body language in a holistic way One thing can have more than one meaning


33 Responses

  1. Heather Currell

    January 9, 2016 10:41 pm

    This is a very helpful video ☺
    I was wondering if you could give me some advice? my thoroughbred ex racehorse is very aggressive in his stable (he stays in overnight in winter) and when tied up outside he pins his ears back, shakes his head and tightens his lips and sometimes bites or kicks out, I was wondering if there was a way to improve his behavior (it is not possible to turn him out overnight as all the other horses stay in and there is little grass and the fields are too muddy)

  2. Ana

    July 3, 2016 12:02 am

    I love your channel! I'm in vet school but have never had a lot of contact with equines before, so it's super helpful to know more about their behavior to guide my steps. You all are doing a splendid job, thank you so much!

  3. Stine Abrahamsen

    January 15, 2017 10:24 pm

    I have to say I mostly agree apart from licking and chewning. My horse can lick and chew at times I know he is not stressed  at all for eksempel when he is going to sleep or when I click With the clicker. So this is a case of know your horse and what it does in my case click and lick and chew is more like '' Yes! Treat is comming Yum Yum!

  4. kristin_bri

    February 8, 2017 9:29 am

    Although you're speaking English it sometimes sounds French when I'm not that concentrated 😀 I really like your drawings, very talented!

  5. MissRightTurn

    February 20, 2017 12:03 pm

    I constantly see the white of my horses eyes even when she shows clear signs of relaxation. I heard it may have something to do with her breed… Is that true?

  6. bowelsoftrogdor

    July 7, 2017 8:47 pm

    Merci beaucoup, Your descriptions and illustrations were wonderful and educational!

  7. Rick 'The Greatest Poster' Ever

    February 16, 2018 3:34 am

    It’s not “hos” it’s HORSE WITH AN “R”!!!* Go back to Mexican, you stupid dreamer. BUILD THE WALL! TRUMP 2020!

  8. Kim James

    May 29, 2018 9:40 pm

    But when you are grooming some horses rest one of their legs and it looks similar to your drawing for the kick threat can you have me understand the difference? Please!

  9. Valerie Kokenge

    August 19, 2018 3:35 pm

    Am I the only person who likes her accent??
    Great video, wonderful drawings.
    I do want to add that some horse breeds have a naturally high tail carriage, like Arabians.

    Sometimes, my horse will move with a high, stretched neck and head up and forward (snake-like) and ears pinned, kind of like "giving the finger" or "flipping me off". I know this is a sign of a horse with a bad or superior attitude toward humans. How can this behaviour be corrected? She alternatively will come eagerly to the fence, sometimes running, with ears fully forward, wanting to be petted.

  10. Alba González

    September 9, 2018 5:44 pm

    Great video! Explanations are clear, which is the most important. Not sure why people are complaining about your accent.. they can simply activate the subtitles. I am sure whoever has travelled a bit around has no issues to understand non-native English 🙂 Keep it up!!

  11. Sana Barrou

    October 6, 2018 7:46 pm

    Vous etes française je pense. Cest tres rapide je narrive pas trop a vous suivre. Une question: quand je mapproche dun cheval dans son box et je le touche puis il tourne pour me mettre en face de son derrière, qu'est ce que cela veut dire ?

  12. Chesney Ford

    November 12, 2018 6:10 pm

    I loved the video and it was very educational! Although maybe you could explain that some of these behaviors are common in certain breeds and not just emotions? I've seen multiple comments ask that so I just wanted to make a suggestion. Keep up the good work!

  13. Lukas Kennedy

    December 28, 2018 3:58 am

    Ears back is aggression or listening to behind sounds/paying attention to something behind it. Ears directed at the person or animal that the horse is submitting to shows submission.


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