Last Updated on February 22, 2022 by Allison Price
All horse lovers agree that horses can sometimes pull off some hilarious faces. Horses will smile, sneeze and cuddle their beloved humans. What does it mean for a horse to kiss you?
Horses can occasionally flaunt their lips at people for a variety of reasons. This cute behavior can be quite entertaining. We must be able to read and understand the meaning of horse facial expressions. Let’s learn how to read the faces of horses and what they may be trying to communicate to us.
Table of Contents
- An Introduction to How To Read A Horse’s Face
- Understanding Horse Facial Expressions and What They Mean
How to Read A Horse’s Face
Horses are different than humans, as they are prey animals while we are predators. Horses have facial expressions that are quite different to ours because they are constantly on the lookout of danger. Horses and humans are two different species. This means that the way we express our feelings is quite different.
Researchers believe that horses have complex facial expressions. They may be almost as expressive than humans. Horses communicate with each other by using different facial features. Here’s a sample of horses using facial expressions to communicate with each other
Horse riders who are just starting out should be taught that horses with their ears bowed must be avoided. Horses with their ears pressed against their heads are trying to warn you to stay away from them.
Horses with their ears pointed forward are on alert and listening for something far away. This is how horses can spot predators far away.
Horses that are relaxed will have droopy ears and swivel around to pick up sounds.
An calm and relaxed horse will have soft eyes. This means that the muscles around his eyes are relaxed. A fearful or tense horse might show his whites and be wide-eyed, as his facial muscles tighten.
Horses use their muzzles for intimacy. For example, they might use their lips to groom or nuzzle another horse. Horses with relaxed muzzles and loose lips are happy and calm.
The flip side is that horses who are anxious or tense can tighten their lips, which can make their mouth look smaller. To show an older horse, a younger horse might lick its lips and chew as a sign they aren’t a threat.
Understanding Horse Facial Expressions and What They Mean
Understanding the meaning of horse facial expressions is crucial for us to be able to respond correctly to them. It is important to understand what horse facial expressions mean so that we can respond appropriately.
These are some common facial expressions for horses:
- Relaxed Horse : The eyes will appear soft and relaxed and the ears will remain in semi-alert mode. Relaxed horses will have a droopy lower lip, and they may seem almost asleep.
- Curious Horse A curious horse will raise his head towards the object he is looking at, and flare his nostrils to aid the sense of smell. His ears will point forward and his eyes will remain focused but relaxed.
- Nervous Horse – When a horse becomes nervous, the muzzle will appear tight and wrinkled with the mouth closed. The eyes may open wide, and the ears may move forward and backwards in search of escape routes. You might also notice that the ears open wide and may move backwards to warn of an impending danger.
What does it mean when you see horse lips flapping?
It could be a sign that your horse is fluttering his lips. Nervous horses might flail their lower lips if they feel insecure or uneasy. This is normal foal behavior. They will show respect for older horses by using their mouths.
Flehmen is the name given to the phenomenon where horses, particularly stallions, curl their upper lips over their nostrils. This seals air into their nasal cavities and allows them to smell interesting odors.
I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!