How to Talk to Horses

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courtesy of Boardman Arabians, LLC
courtesy of Boardman Arabians, LLC (Image: Courtesy of Boardman Arabians, LLC)

Is there really such a thing as Horse Whispering? Yes and no. This article tells why and how anyone can do this.

Things You'll Need

  • Patience, and lots of it
  • Good observation skills
  • Ability to adapt to constantly changing environment

Learning to talk to a horse in its own language is not magic. Anyone can learn to talk to a horse. Truly, the only thing required is patience, and the ability to adapt to a language that uses the body far more than it uses sound. The first, and most important step in learning a horse's language, is to spend time watching horses interact with one another. Watch them especially when horses are eating, fighting or when they are with their foals and/or friends. Pay attention when they groom one another, and any and all social interaction that takes place between different members of the herd.

Plan on making observations over a long period of time. In fact, lifelong horsepeople will spend as much time as they can each day just observing the horses. People who watch more than speak are true experts. By watching, observe how the horses talk to one another. Very rarely does actually vocalizing take place. The equine, body language and "energy" is horse communication. When a horse chews and licks its lips, it is relaxed, and its ears will rotate out and relax. Anger is displayed through tensed lips, pinned ears, narrowed eyes and flattened nostrils. If this is not enough to get the message across, a snort or a warning kick will be added. Still not enough? Be prepared for a savage bite and a whirl and kick out with both hind feet. Contentment is a heavy sigh and a cocked hind leg. There are as many ways for a horse to display feelings through its body as there are ways for people to talk with language.

Watch and learn from books, tapes, and whatever other media are available, then put it into practice. Go out into the horse's world and say hello. How does one say hello to a horse? NOT by patting its nose. Horses, when they meet in the wild and wish to be friendly, will sniff one another lightly in greeting, then will rub each other on the neck, down by the shoulder. This will quickly progress to mutual grooming behind the withers and along the backbone. Make a proper happy greeting to the horse by approaching him with a hand out to the horse's neck. Touch the horse there. If a nose is offered, gently blow into the horse's nostrils. Pat the horse on the neck and scratch him. He will quickly communicate where to scratch, so continue to do so.

Do not allow a horse to crowd or push to earn respect. Horses are very physical creatures, and demand respect from one another. If a horse pushes, stab at his flank with stiff fingers to get the horse off. Squared shoulders and a firm voice make the horse know what is happening. As soon as the horse has listened, immediately back off. Press and release.

Use these steps and begin a wonderful lifelong conversation with horses. Horses are incredibly subtle creatures. For example, to calm a fractious horse, speak softly and soothingly, caress his neck and shoulder, and concentrate on thinking calming thoughts. Natural energy will communicate itself to the equine, and the horse will respond. If the trainer is upset the horse knows it. The energy of angry feelings is sensed and acted on by the horse. Never underestimate the sensitivity of these creatures.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always be aware of herd dynamics while out in a field with loose horses. Do not get in between two enemies!

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