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Understanding what the

sounds that horse's

make mean

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Equine Sounds and Gestures
Ron Petracek

Equine Gestures - These sounds are all too familiar if you own horses.
Now, find out what these sounds mean.

We hear it every morning as we walk to the barn. A
piercing whinny that announces the arrival of the official
horse feeder of the day. Horses have a fairly small range
of vocal sounds, but many of which we are very familiar
with. But, what exactly do they all mean?

Whinnying - The whinny is use to announce a horse's
presence. The sound is designed to carry over a long
distance and is often quite loud, even from the smallest
horse in the bunch. In the morning, the horse is simply
saying "hello" and "don't forget to feed me!" The sound is
also used as a complaint of loneliness and sometimes a
"wait for me!" Horses are also able to recognize the
whinny of another horse that they know. Wild horses use it
to keep in touch with the rest of the herd when they are
out of sight.

Nickering - The nicker is a deep, nasal sound that is made
while the mouth is closed. Mares and foals commonly use
this sound to call each other. This is generally a
greeting to both a horse's owner and his stablemates. The
sound can be one of kindness as well, similar to that of a
cat's purr.

Blowing - This sound is equivalent to that of a sigh in
humans. Often a horse will blow when he is tired of
waiting for something or when you are leading him off to
exercise when he doesn't really feel like it. The blow can
also be used as a warning. Some horses that are curious
about something blow, then wait and then investigate the

Snorting - This is a harsher version of a blow. Horses
will often snort to show their disapproval in something.
There may also be a strong hint aggression in a snort as

Squealing - This sound often sounds worse than it really
is. Stallions are known to squeal when they are teasing
mares or meeting mares. Two stallions will also squeal at
meeting each other. The squeal is often an assertion of
seniority in the herd or even dominance. The head usually
stays up and they don't give any true signs of aggression,
although the sound itself sounds that way.

With all these great guidelines and and more articles you
will surely be on your way to learning more about your
equine friends. If you would like to learn more we will
lead you to the water we can't make you drink.

Three minutes or less to Equine Success

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