Carousel Park & Equestrian Center - TRAC -Therapeutic Riding at Carousel
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Horse Sounds and Their Meanings

This morning I found myself contemplating communication between horses and humans.  While chewing on my morning hay, I realized that at times humans may not understand what we are trying to say with our sounds.  Neighing, nickering, blowing, and snorting are just some of the sounds we make to communicate with our horse and human friends.

A neigh sounds like a squeal followed by a nicker and is very loud. The term whinny is also used to refer to a neigh. When a horse neighs (or whinnies) with his head high, he is looking for other horses or people.

The nicker sound is produced when a horse creates a vibrating sound with his mouth closed using the vocal cords. When a horse nickers quietly, and moves toward a horse or person, he is saying "hello". When a horse nickers intensely and shakes his head, he wants to mate. When a nicker is much softer and quieter than a "hello" nicker, it's usually made by a mare to her foal.
The blow sound is produced when a horse exhales through his nose with his mouth shut. A horse blows when it's curious, or when greeting another horse. When horses meet nose to nose and blow on each other, they are greeting each other.
  • If the horses continue blowing gently followed by other actions such as nuzzling, they are friends.
  • If one or both of the horses nip at the other, stomp their front feet, strike out, or squeal, it means they are enemies.
  • When a horse blows at something he usually curious.
  • If the horse relaxes all is well.
  • If the horse tenses up or shies away, it senses danger.

The snort sound is produced when a horse exhales through his nose with his mouth shut and produces a vibrating sound in the nostrils. Very often the horse holds his head up while snorting. When a horse snorts and stares at an object he is checking for danger.
I hope this blog helps my human friends to understand what I am trying to say when I make noises.  I personally don't make too many noises, as I feel that my actions speak louder.  However, Licorice, Frosty, Pebbles, and Good Girl talk all of the time.  Thank goodness I don't share a field with any of them.  I like peace and quiet. 
Well, it's time for my early morning nap.  If you are in the area today, stop by and say hello.  Don't feel obligated, but if you bring an apple or two, I won't object.
Love and Carrots,
The King of Carousel