Horse’s Language

Hi!  It’s Dakino and I am going to talk about horse’s body language.

Understanding a horse’s body and vocal language is very important.  Not understanding it can put you and your horse in danger!

Body Language:

Here are a few indicators to help you read the eyes:

  • Whites visible (except in appaloosas)- Anxious, angry.
  • Half closed – Tired, relaxed, sleeping.
  • Wrinkled – Worried.
  • Blinking – Processing information, thinking.
  • Soft eye – Gentle, relaxed, learning mode.
  • Hard eye – Tense, resistant.

A horse’s ears are key pointers to where the horse’s attention is at.
Pricked ears often mean that it’s listening

  • Turned back – Focused on something behind
  • Pointing forward – Attentive, curious.
  • Rigid pointing – Fear, uncertainty.
  • Droopy – Tired, sleepy, bored.
  • Pinned back – Threatening, aggressive, angry, warning.
  • Pointing in different directions – Focused on two things at once.
  • Rotating – Lots going on, curious, nervous, indecisive.
  • Airplane ears (drooped out to side) – Depressed, drugged, unwell, sleeping.
  • Neutral – Normal.

Muzzle, Lips and Nostrils

  • Tight/hard lips – Anxious, tense.
  • Wrinkled muzzle – Nervous, worried.
  • Licking/Chewing – Stress release, digesting ideas, acknowledgement
  • Drooping lip – Relaxed, bored,sleeping
  • Swishing/Mobile Muzzle – Curious, extroverted.
  • Flared nostrils – Nervous, excited, alert, working.
  • Relaxed nostrils, soft muzzle – Neutral, relaxed.
  • Flapping lower lip – Unfocused, sensitive, nervous.
  • Open mouth, mouthing – Often seen in foals. “I’m a baby- don’t hurt me”.

Head and Neck Set

  • Low -Accepting, relaxed.
  • High – Fear, anxiety, defiance.
  • Level – Neutral, Focused.


  • Swishing – Annoyed, irritated, flies.
  • Flagged – Excited, happy, playful, alarmed (often seen in Arabians and foals).
  • High/Raised – Attentive, excited, happy.
  • Low – Submissive.
  • Neutral/level – Focused, normal.
  • Clamped down – Fearful.


  • Pawing – Frustrated.
  • Standing square – Attentive.
  • Hind hoof resting – Relaxed.
  • Hind leg lifted – Warning, defensive.
  • Stamping- Flies, mild irritation.
  • Striking – Angry, threatening, fighting.
  • Dancing around – Nervous, excited, frightened.

Vocal Language:


A neigh is a high sound with a “vibrato” to it. A neigh could mean a lot of things. (also called Whinny)

A neigh could vary from a happy greeting to a demanding-”Where is my grain!” Often horses neigh when feeding time comes around.


A nicker is a low sound that sounds like a muffled neigh. How I like to describe it: it is between a neigh and snort.

A nicker is friendly greeting-normally to a being they know.


A snort is puffing air through their noses to create vibrating which creates a sound.

Snorts-most of the time-happen when horses don’t like something. But it doesn’t mean they are unhappy. Like for instance, maybe they are snorting because you are taking them out of their stall at a different time.


A squeal is a high-pitched scream like noise. It sounds like a Neigh without happiness.

A squeal is normally accompanied by rolling eyes or seeing the whites of their eyes. When a horse squeals, it means it is frightened by something or really doesn’t like something. A horse may squeal when a horse comes by and nips them on their barrel.


A grunt is a noise that is distinctive

A grunt may mean a horse just finished a hard workout. Or it may mean that they have a discomfort or have an illness. It depends what it is accompanied with.


Praise to Dakino

I just want to thank the guest blogger, Dakino.  You may have noticed that I have been posting quite irregularly.  But Dakino has filled in for me with her wonderfully informative posts.  So I just want to say THANK YOU!  You can visit her great horsey blog here.

Her header image

Ponies Going Crazy

Hi Everyone!

This is Dakino and I just made a video of Garrod Farm’s ponies going crazy.  I don’t really like the music, but I guess it was one of the few that sounded decent from the track list.  So to identify them:

Black/White Pinto-Oreo


chestnut w/ flaxen mane-Pumpkin.

I hope you learned your colorings or you won’t be able to figure out which pony is which! 😉  So watch these cute little ponies running in the Garrod’s pony area!


Hi!  It’s Dakino, and I am going to talk about bedding and muck.  You readers are lucky because this is from my horse notebook and people from my blog hasn’t read this information yet! 😉

Table of Contents:

  • Bedding Options
  • Types of Muck
  • How to Muck
  • Me and Mucking Out

Bedding Options

There are many bedding options and it is important to choose the one that fits your horses’ needs.

Never ever use rubber matting alone.  Horses will be injured!!!
Rubber matting may be used underneath bedding.


Straw is a very popular type of bedding.


  • economical


  • not absorbent
  • horses may eat
  • can be dusty
  • heavy and smells
  • wet goes straight to the ground




  • absorbent
  • warm
  • easy to store
  • small muck heap
  • dust free


  • can be expensive


Paper Shavings


  • dust free
  • absorbent
  • eco-friendly


  • Expensive
  • difficult to manage (blows around)
  • difficult muck heap controll

Warning: paper shavings with print on it will stain the horse’s coat




  • absorbent
  • dust free


  • Expensive
  • if horse eats, it will swell and causes colic

Warning: do not put feed over or on hemp


Compressed Wood Fiber Pellets


  • absorbent
  • provides deep bedding


  • expensive
  • similar to hemp-if eaten, swells and  causes colic

Warning: do not put feed over or on compressed wood fiber pellets

Peat Moss


  • warm
  • ‘virtually’ dust free
  • useful for laminitic horses


  • Expensive
  • difficult to muck
  • stall appears darker

Types of Muck

There are three types of Muck:

Deep Littering

  • only immediately droppings and wet areas are removed
  • fresh bedding placed on top
  • monthly-cleaned

Semi-Deep Littering

  • Removed and cleaned weekly

Mucking out

  • cleaned daily

How to Muck Out

Things you will need when mucking out:

  1. A wheelbarrow
  2. a shovel
  3. a shavings rake ( and/or pitchfork for straw)
  4. new shavings/bedding
  5.  Muck heap

How to muck out a stall with outdoor and indoor (bedding in indoor only)

  1. Remove droppings in the inside along with the shavings around it using a shavings rake
  2. then remove wet spots with shavings rake or shovel (whichever one is better for you)
  3. Then using the shovel, remove droppings outside.
  4. Dump removed shavings and droppings in the muck heap.
  5. Pour out how much bedding you need
  6. Spread out with shovel or rake

How to muck out a stall with indoor only shavings

  1. Remove droppings in the inside along with the shavings around it using a shavings rake
  2. then remove wet spots with shavings rake or shovel (whichever one is better for you)
  3. Dump removed shavings and droppings in the muck heap.
  4. Pour out how much bedding you need
  5. Spread out with shovel or rake

Me and Mucking Out

For me, I like the woodshavings the best.  And it’s the only type I’ve ever worked with.  I’ve only worked with mucking out.  Cleaning daily.  And I work with mucking out stall with outdoor and indoor.  It is the type of muck I think people should use.  Garrod Farms boarding stalls are box stalls with a small paddock in the back.  I’m not a big fan of mucking out, but it’s for a horse…right?


So that’s about it for today!  See you later!




Hi everyone!

This is Dakino and I am a co-author of this awesome blog…and I found some time to finally write a post here.

So recently while doing some research for my page on gaits, I found an awesome picture about Tölt and it’s connection with other gaits:

If you look at it closer (not literally) you’ll see that the outside ring is more common gaits (except for pace).  You go in one more circle and it’s the Tölt between each gait.  The center is the Icelandic gait, the Tölt.

In case you didn’t know what a Tölt was, it’s an ambling gait of a horse found in Icelandic horses.  The foot-falls are the same as in the walk, but it is performed in different speeds, including the speed of a  canter/lope!

To learn a little more about the Tölt:

So that was just a picture with just a little description.

Thanks for reading!