What makes horse language so complicated to us humans? Well it’s because we just don’t know how to listen with our eyes which is a horse language must. When it comes to learning horse language the most important parts of the language that every horse owner should learn are fear based and dominant based. If you pay close attention to this horse language and learn it well it will keep you and your horse much safer.
The problem with these two kinds of horse language is that it can be difficult to know the difference between dominant based horse language and fear based. Many people misinterpret the two because a horse can seem dominant when he is really just trying to get away from a fearful situation which essentially puts him into the choice of flight or fight. One of the main differences between these two is that dominance will be more slow and calculated with warnings when fear will be a quick reaction that you didn’t even see coming.
Many horse owners have had at least some experience with fear based horse language. Haven’t we all seen that horse on the end of a lead rope prancing around with a neck like a giraffe and eyes as wide as saucers? In these cases it’s quite easy to see the fear based horse language. When a horse’s adrenaline comes up his body will plainly display this type of horse language for flight mode. Some obvious things to look for are high head, bulging eyes, tight muzzle, stiff ears, tight muscles and a high tail. Some more extreme fear based horse language may be a tail that looks like a “J” shape or sad to say a horse that has finally just given up and gone totally inside itself. When you see this happen you are sure to think twice before you push a horse too hard. Then there is a horse that feels trapped and that fight is their only option. This horse will display a very scary horse language that nobody wants to experience. This horse language has the potential of being so very dangerous because it will be quick and can even be deadly. This horse will kick, strike and bite very quickly, so quickly that you don’t even see it coming. Some people don’t even expect it because they don’t know how to read the early stages of this horse language. Sometimes fear can be so well hidden that we don’t even know our horse was under stress until he starts showing signs of coming off the adrenalin. A horse will start blowing through his nose with short hard blows or shaking its head or starts yawning. Paying close attention to the early signs of this horse language is your only way of not letting your horse go there.
Then there is dominance, a whole other horse language for a whole other write up. The hardest part for us humans to understand about this horse language is that this is the only way the horse knows how to survive or to keep its position of alpha. Too many people take this horse language personally instead of recognizing this is your horse’s survival.