Tag: Stress

Signs of Relaxation and Stress

Signs of Relaxation and Stress

This post will list and describe some some signs of relaxation and stress. It is important to know what signs to look for in our horses so we know when to take stimuli away if we are desensitizing them, or even just to know how they are feeling. Two, three or more of these signs of relaxation or stress are a good indication of how your horse is feeling.

Signs of Relaxation

Sign of relaxation


When your horse starts to relax they will start blinking repeatedly and their eyes will be soft and relaxed.

Yawning and Snorting

A relaxed horse will yawn; it is usually followed or started by the horse breathing out long and long making a snorting noise.

Low Head

Relaxed horses hold their head low. Depending on what breed your horse is their low head position may be higher or lower than other breeds of horses.

Soft Nostrils and Lips

Horse relaxed
This horse’s bottom lip is lower than it’s top, and it’s nostrils are relaxed and even.

A horse’s nostrils are usually wrinkle free while they are relaxed, there should be no tension in them and the tops of the nostrils should be even with each other. The horse’s lips should also be loose and wrinkle free, they should not be holding their mouth tight. When the lower lip is even, or overlapping the top lip, that means the horse is relaxed.

Licking and Chewing

When your horse starts chewing the air and licking his lips, he is beginning to relax.

Signs of Stress

High Head and Tense Eyes

A horse who is holding their head high is usually alert and stressed. Some breeds of horses may hold their head high compared to other breeds, keep that in mind while observing yours. The horse’s eyes may also be alert and tense, with some whites of the eye possibly showing.

Tense Nostrils

If the nostrils are tight, uneven or have wrinkles.

Sign of Stress
This horse has tense and wrinkly nostrils, a high head, and alert eyes.

Tense Lips

Tight wrinkly lips are a sure sign of stress. It may be hard to get your finger in the horse’s mouth due to the tightness, and their bottom lip may be farther back than the top.


A stressed horse may exhibit vices if they have any.

Horse related activities are inherently dangerous and caution should be used at all times.