Body-Language of Horses
|Date Added: April 03, 2009 12:59:59 PM|
|Category: Equine Consultants|
Body-language is a non verbal way of communication between two beings.
It happens all the time between people whether or not we are aware of what we are saying with our body or what someone is saying to us. The WHY.... of body-language of horses. Because horses have a very limited verbal communication, if you count the sounds they make as verbal communication , they have honed their ability to perceive and understanding body language between themselves. Once humans step into the picture, and are accepted as part of the horse's social structure, our body signals become important enough for them to discern and learn to understand.
They are very good at this because they do not have a verbal language to fall back on. It is also due to the fact that horses are much more in tune with their senses than humans are.
They …listen more attentively….focus more instinctively…and react more spontaneously. Simply put, anatomically they have better hearing and a wider range of vision. Their sense of feel , although not received through finger tips is distributed throughout their entire body and as large as they are….that’s a lot of feel!
The What.... of body-language of horses.
WHAT horses communicate through body-language is something that is even more difficult for us to grasp sometimes. This is because as humans we possess this peculiar, if not presumptive, tendency to anthropomorphize animals and objects.
This is, however, one of the most detrimental behaviors people can practice around horses. It is because people attribute human characteristics to horses that the concept of “communicating with horses” is so misunderstood.
What horses communicate is directly related to what they sense or feel. By “feel” we mean what they physically feel. What they communicate amongst each other, as a herd, in order to survive and maintain their social structure are those things directly related to their survival.
Fear, hunger, panic, caused by impending danger loneliness loss of family as in a mother to a foal physical pain tranquility or contentment a sense of “all is well” anger to the extent that something is threatening their survival which again relates to fear playfulness dominance one over the other which is necessary to establish a pecking order…survival of the fittest.
Horses have a strong sense of justice or fair play. An eye for an eye is ok but an eye for a whisker is NOT. Unlike humans horses are forgiving, unresentful, unbiased and unabashed.
The HOW.... of body-language of horses.
So now HOW do horse communicate amongst themselves that they are hungry, or miss the companionship of their stable mate, or are in pain?
Some parts of the horses anatomy are more geared towards this type of communication. Mainly eyes the ears the nostrils the tail and the neck and the overall stance of the body. Much the same way that human body language uses mainly the arms, fingers, eyebrows, eyes, mouth and body stance. The best way to learn this is through observation.