Communicating With Horses

Have you been bitten by the horse bug? Whether you are a novice that is just starting to explore the horse world, or an expert rider who is completely immersed in stable life, you probably already understand how complex and fascinating horses are. Learning to understand our equine pals is an ongoing, never-ending process! A Mattoon, IL vet discusses communicating with horses in this article.

Learn Silver’s Body Language

Riders often quickly learn that flattened ears are a major red flag with horses, and often a sign of impending aggression. However, more subtle signals, such as stamping, whinnying, or flared nostrils, are often overlooked. Do plenty of research on equine body language, and take time to get to know your horse. It’s also important to realize that, when it comes to reading a horse’s body language, you have to look at the whole picture. For instance, it’s not unusual for horses to lower their heads when they are relaxed or dozing. However, if Silver is awake, and is standing in a strange position with his head down, he could be ill.

Avoid Spooks

Our equine friends can be quite jittery! When Silver is snoozing, or if you are approaching from behind, cluck or make a noise to let him know you are there. Loud or unexpected movements—like cell phone ringtones—often startle horses, so try to avoid these. If your horse is extremely flighty, ask a professional trainer for help desensitizing him.

Bonding Time

Take time to bond with Silver. Talk to him, pet him, and groom him daily. While every horse has his or her own tastes, many enjoy having their ears scratched. Your horse may also like having his forehead rubbed gently.

Reward and Punishment

Use positive reinforcement when training your horse. If you use training aid, such as crops, use them lightly. Otherwise, you may just confuse or frighten Silver. Never punish your horse, even if he’s done something wrong. If your equine buddy is having behavioral issues, as a trainer for advice.


Teaching Silver to come when you whistle or call his name can be very helpful! The best way to do this? You guessed it: yummy treats! Carrots, peppermints, sugar cubes, apple slices, or homemade horse cookies are bound to ‘whin’ your horse over.

Do you have questions about horse care? Contact us, your local Mattoon, IL animal clinic, today!

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