Yes, horses have a language of their own, and unfortunately many of us are not as aware of it as we should be. It’s a big mistake to not to know their language, as it could mean problems for us in the long run. Every swivel of the ear(s), hip movement, tail flick and facial expression means something. This is the language horses use to speak to other horses and to us – if only we would listen.
We need to know what OUR body language says to them first before we can understand them. Flapping arms while trying to get the halter on will cause concern. Running at them in a pasture rather than walking up to them calmly can make them think – predator chasing me. We’ve all heard about bombproof horses – sorry, there isn’t any such thing. Something, some time will spook your horse – any horse.
In the meantime, keep your body language quiet, slow, easy and calm. If you are calm, this helps your horse remain calm.
Horses speak to us with all body parts and that includes the front and back end. Both ends can cause us untold grief if we do not pay attention to what they are saying. For instance, most of us know that when a horse has both ears pinned back flat something is really wrong. Chances are they are either frightened or angry. In most cases it is anger. So watch the front and rear very carefully. Caution is best even if you think the horse may be listening to something behind them or bored. Once you really know your horse well, you will know what the ears are saying.
Ears perked up and forward mean they are focusing their attention on something and are either up to some mischief or they are on high alert about something they see, hear or smell. Remind your horse you need his attention, especially if you are riding and the ears whip forward.
Brushing and caring for your horse is THE major bonding experience between humans and equines. Don’t ever underestimate how powerfully you are communicating to your horse about YOU when you brush him.