How You Can Understand Your Horse’s Emotions

Understanding your horse’s body language gives you key insight into its emotional state and will allow you to deepen your relationship. Read on to find out how you can understand your horse’s emotions.

Head Carriage

A lowered or drooped head shows that your horse is feeling relaxed and comfortable. If it’s standing still with its head lowered, there’s a good chance the horse is resting. Approach intentionally and obviously so as not to startle your horse.

If your horse’s head is lowered while snaking from left to right, your horse is aggressive. Figure out what is making your horse assert dominance and focus on relaxing the tension.

When your horse holds its head elevated, it is probably trying to determine the source of a sound or sight in the distance to decide if it is a danger or not. At this moment, it will be on edge, so treat the situation with caution.


Most people know that forward-facing ears signify alertness, while pinned-back ears are a sign of anger. When your horse turns its ears to the side, your horse is very relaxed. Your horse might not be aware of what’s happening around it, so don’t surprise it. Call its name and approach from the front to avoid startling it.

If your horse’s ears are rapidly moving back and forth, it’s feeling very anxious and trying to locate the source of an alarming sound. Try locating the source yourself and find a way to nullify your horse’s fears.


If your horse is chewing without eating while you’re training it, that’s great! Chewing means your horse is thinking and relaxed, so it’s a good sign that your training is getting through.

You may notice a younger horse clacking its teeth together with its lips curled apart. This is a way for your horse to tell other horses that it is submissive to the older horses. It’s a defense mechanism to signify that there is no reason to hurt them. If your horse is older and doing this, it feels threatened or uncomfortable in some way.

Now that you know how you can understand your horse’s emotions, keep an eye out for other things that influence their behavior, such as their diet. Learn your horse’s body language and communicate more effectively!

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Written by Logan Voss

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