Did You Know Horses Can Interpret Human Facial Expressions?

Did you know that horses can interpret our emotions from human facial expressions, body posture and tone of voice? How amazing is that?

They are very receptive animals and sensitive to the stimuli of their environment. Horses can interpret our expressions and, by talking to them with the tone of our voice, can perceive human emotions.

How can horses interpret emotions from human facial expressions?

Horses are able to interpret our emotions. Being social animals, they have learned to identify and communicate with their peers and humans, with whom they have lived for thousands of years.

In addition to interpreting a person’s facial expression, they also integrate it with tone of voice, whether they already know it or not. They are able to relate a friendly face with a calm tone of voice, or an angry face with grunts and screams.

Faced with negative stimuli, such as an angry face, the horses turn their heads and look sideways with their left eye, as it is the right cerebral hemisphere that processes the threat signals.

The horse`s heartbeat also accelerates and they become restless with clear signs of stress. This brain specialization helps to anticipate negative situations.

Horses are communicative animals.

horse reading Human Facial Expressions

In the wild, horses usually live in groups led by a mare and are prey to other animals. So they developed a complete language to communicate with each other.

The main form of communication of these equines is the visual one. Horses can interpret the body language of their mates by the position of their ears, head, legs and overall body. Auditory communication is also very important.

Horses neigh, roar and make a series of guttural sounds to convey different sensations:

*Communicate your location to the rest of the group.

*Warn another horse of a danger.

*Welcome another individual.

*Conveying affection or happiness.

*As a sign of courting.

*To find the foal.

Yes, horses can interpret human emotions.

We can communicate with horses through human facial expressions, body language and the tone of our voice as they can interpret human emotions. This is the fact that has guided Monty Roberts throughout his professional career. He became known as “the man who listens to horses”.

Roberts is a famous horse training expert in horse riding and natural training who has based all of his work on communicating with the horse.

In this way, he establishes a relationship of respect and understanding between the horse and the human, leaving behind concepts such as dominance or punishment, methods that only affect the fear and frustration of animals.

Horses neigh, roar and make a series of guttural sounds to convey different sensations:

Monty Roberts Equine Language

Its method is called join up and follow up, and aims to establish a voluntary partnership between the horse and the man, without the use of pain or force, to make the horse accept a saddle, a bridle and a person about him.

All this is not new. The horse language, called Equus, is based on a sign system and was invented by the Chikasaw Indians, and then used by riders around the world.

This language has three types of basic signals: body postures – which include head, eye, lip and ear movements – tail and sounds. Roberts has identified over 170 gestures through which humans can communicate with horses.

As you can see, communication with the horse is a reciprocal action. Horse and human are information senders and receivers.

The man, through his gestures, his posture and his voice, makes the horses can interpret and respond through the position of their ears, head and body, and neigh.

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