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Most horses communicate through their body language, but there are occasions when they will whinny to share their feelings. They actually have a few different vocalizations, ranging from high-pitched squeals to soft nickers. Each type can mean something different.
Your Horse’s Whinny
Your horse has a whinny (also known as a neigh) that is unique and distinct. Within a domestic and wild herd, horses use this sound to call out for each other. They may even use it to get a person’s attention. They’re basically saying, “I’m over here, where are you…” or “Hey friend, pay attention to me.”
Depending on the tone and body language, a whinny can be used when the horse is anxious or confident. Sometimes, they may call out to you because they’re hungry and impatient. And at other times, they whinny because they miss their herd mates. It’s helpful to observe their ears, eyes, and tail, in order to understand why they’re vocalizing.
- A nicker can be similar to a whinny, but sound more low pitched. The horses is usually trying to get the attention of another herd mate or person.
- Your horse may also squeal, especially mares. Many times, horses will squeal the first time they meet each other. A strike of the front leg is usually followed by it. On some occasions, it can suggest the horse is excited or in high spirits.
- A loud snort of your horse’s nose usually means they are alarmed. You should get prepared for them to spook.
- Some horses will also sigh. This is actually a signal of relaxation and relief. However, it can also mean boredom.
The sounds your horse makes are just another way for them to communicate. Make sure you pay attention and learn the various ones.