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Moving on to the ears.  The messages a horse communicates with it's ears are to be learnt and respected.  Understanding them could mean the difference between you being bitten by a horse or not, among many other factors, and is essential to horse handling and riding.

Many of us learn about ears back and ears forward, however there are many variables to these which need to be understood.

The ears are probably one of the most noticeable ways a horse will communicate with you. 


When a horse lays it's ears back it is not at all happy with something, whether that be caused by pain, annoyance, agitation etc but there are many variables to this that need to be understood and their associated expressions.  When a horse really pins it's ears right back hard it is normally because earlier less extreme communications have gone ignored and normally precedes a bite, a kick or another extreme action.

Ignoring the message a horse is sending you can result in a sudden nasty bite from a normally sweet natured horse.  Or a kick from a horse you thought you had a great relationship with.

All horses kick, bite, buck, rear etc, these are natural horse defences, if we wish to handle and ride these amazing animals we must first understand how to hear what they are communicating to us so we never force them into situations where they feel they need to resort to these sorts of things.

You should never growl at or discipline a horse for laying it's ears back.  This by itself is harmless in any scenario and should make you immediately consider what is causing this and try to remove this cause. 

You should not also assume your horse is happy when it's ears are forward.  Horses also put their ears forward when they are focusing or spooking at something in front of them.

When handling and riding horses you should be watching their ears for what they are telling you and then progressing accordingly.   

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