How do horses use body language?
Body language was a frustrating thing for me playing with my horses.  Really think about it, they have huge ears that mean something.  They have a tail that means something.  They have four legs so lifting one up is really easy and it means something.  
I spent a lot of time observing my herd of three.  Ears were the easiest to see at first. They can flick an ear fast and the other horses move.  Head swinging was reinforcement to the ear flicks and if that didn't work, was usually followed by teeth.
I can see a tail swish or a leg lift and know exactly what it meant.  At the same time, swinging a head or swishing a tail for a fly meant nothing to the other horses so it wasn't entirely about the movement.  It was the energy behind the movement.  This I could work with!
I thought about being a mountain lion and the massive energy they would have, and I filled up and walked with that energy.  The horses moved out of my way.  It was fun and felt empowering and it also felt like I could keep myself safe.
The ears and tail were more challenging.  I put a blue flag on the end of a dressage whip and held it down by my feet to act as my ears or my tail.  Then, if I would pin my ears or swish my tail with meaning, I just used the flag.  I also waved it around like I was swishing flies and didn't put the energy behind it.  It worked exactly like their ears and tail.  They moved when the energy was behind it and they just stayed relaxed if I was just swishing flies.
I encourage you to play with body language with your horses.  This is just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more when it comes to using body language as communication.
What is your favorite body language technique with your horse?


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