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Horse Ears Are Expressive

horse ears

This horse is alert, yet relaxed and tuned in to it’s rider.

Horse ears can tell you many things! When it comes to trying to understand a horse you can learn a lot by watching his ears.

Let me start off by explaining that horses are prey animals and should be treated as such.

They may seem very calm and mellow at times, but they are extremely large and can cause a lot of damage quickly, whether knowingly or not.

Make sure to observe your horse’s ears before entering and getting your horse out of it’s stall or paddock.

It’s always wise to approach a horse with caution and never from the rear end.  You do not want to get kicked because you startle or surprise them.  Horse ears can be very sensitive.

In the wild they were considered food for wolves, mountain lions, tigers, etc.  Horses don’t like to be eaten so they developed ways to escape.  Their main instinct for survival is flight.

If they sense that danger is near their instinct is to flee.  Some breeds can reach spurts of 50 miles an hour.

horse ears

Something caught the attention of this horse. He looks a little nervous and like he forgot about his rider.

In the wild a lion, wolf or other predator would jump on their back to attack them.  I’m always amazed that they will trust us humans enough to let us get on their backs and ride them.

Horse ears express there emotions and show where a horse’s attention is focused. When you want to see if a horse is smiling or frowning check the position of his ear’s. They are able to move them all around.

If they are holding their ears straight back, flattened to their head that means they are angry or unhappy.

If you see ears pinned back on a horse you are approaching, be careful. If his teeth are also showing, stay away!!!

When a horse is calm and  relaxed their ears are usually drooping down sideways. Horse ears can be very expressive!

Curious Horses

Relaxed, curious horses.

If something catches their attention and they are curious about whatever it is, they will perk their ears and point them in that direction.

We have been taught that if you are approaching a dog you don’t know, you need to be cautious.  We’re told to let them come to us and to extend our hand slowly so they can check us out.

You want to be the same way with a horse.  They are generally very sensitive, kind and loving creatures.

As long as you’re not taking them away from their food they are usually agreeable. You’ll be able to tell by how they hold their horse ears!




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