Is my horse stressed? In pain? Or just being “difficult”?

Did you know that horses have an impressive ability to show facial expressions, with more “action units” than both dogs and chimpanzees, horses can be almost as expressive as humans?

Researchers use tech to record, analyze and  horse facial expressions. The cool thing is, thanks to horse research, we horse-people can better recognize and quantify horse stress, so we’re not just guessing.

Details of an interesting horse “stress face” study in link below.

Why bother?

Stress and pain tend to cause similar facial expressions in humans and animals.

“Knowing what the horse is feeling, can make an important difference in the way handlers and caretakers manage the problem.” researcher Johan Lundblad.

I guess in any relationship – horse or human- reading the face is a window into the emotional state, a way to set aside our assumptions and remove roadblocks to communication.

“Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.” The Bible

See recent study