Reading Your Horse’s Body Language: Understanding Subtle Signs of Discomfort and Well-being

During palpation we look for subtle variations in the feel of the tissue. It’s also important to observe your horse’s reactions to your touch.

These can be fairly obvious; threats to nip, moving away from you, leg lifting, ear pinning, fidgeting or increasing anxiety.

More subtle signs might include facial tensions, muscle spasm/fasciculation, breath holding, distraction or a slight bracing or shift in weight when you touch or apply light pressure to a certain spot.

One horse horse may have a very high tolerance for discomfort or be unwilling to show its discomfort while the next may seem very reactive. They are all trying to cope with their daily life as best they can.

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