Do You Speak Horse?


The next two paragraphs are an excerpt from "Solve Horseback Riding Fears" by Jane Savoie from her Facebook page.

“I’m a people whisperer. A Moshi Level Five People Whisperer, to be exact. Fellow horses come to me when they are confused by their people and ask what their person really meant by their crazy people language. These poor confused horses say things like, "my person says she’s the boss when on my back by directing where we go, but then moves her feet and backs away from me on the ground, which says I’m the boss instead of her. I’m confused!"

I remind them that people have a different language than we do, and we horses need to learn to be ‘people whisperers’. That means we have to do our best to learn to listen to human commands with our ears, and to ignore the loud body language people scream at us. It’s very hard for us to do, as we naturally listen to body language much more readily than noise. People are very confusing and incongruent to equines, and sometimes the mixed signals make us a bit crazy.”

Learning to speak horse requires a willingness:

  • to let go of our beliefs, emotional issues, filters, ideas, and methods, about horses
  • to let our minds see what is really in front of us.

When we let go, we begin to understand the world in a completely new manner. The confirmation of the theory of the Higgs boson particle this July (2012) after 48 years of trying to find the proof that it exists, proves that we should never lose faith that a different way can be found!

We can do this with horses as well. Horses have an innate intelligence that surpasses instinct:

  • horses have memory
  • horses think
  • horses have emotions

If we let go of our own need to have horses think the way we do as people, then we begin to understand what the horses are telling us.

Horses tell us that they are most at ease in the pasture, with their herd mates, with a lead gelding (since most of us do not have stallions in the herd) and a lead mare, to protect them and tell them what to do. As far as the individual horse in the herd is concerned, his only job is to eat, sleep and do what it is told. The typical horse in the herd is quite content to let someone else be the leader.

However, if something happens to the leader, the horses in the herd will immediately take steps to fill the leadership void! The herd will not survive if there is no leader. It is important to note that the leader of the herd is not necessarily the biggest or fastest horse: it is the smartest horse.

This herd leader only needs to pin its ears and snake its neck, or turn its rump toward an offender, even from a great distance, for the “offender” to instantly make amends. If necessary, the leader will ostracize the offender, keeping it away from the safety of the herd, until the offender makes amends and is allowed back.

Once allowed back in, all is forgiven and forgotten, except that the “offender” remembers not to repeat its offensive behaviour. Horses have memories!

They remember where the apple tree is, where the water is, the best grass, and how people behave.

However, horses also “live in the moment”, they expect you to behave in a certain way, and will respond accordingly.

It is through learning to speak horse that we, as humans, can step up and take the leadership position, because if we do not, the horse will take the leadership position. There MUST always be a leader, even in a herd of 2! If the horse does not believe that you are the leader, then it will step up to be the leader, to protect and defend the herd, the herd that is him and you.

The horse that believes you are the leader, will let you be worried about the “spooky” things, because you will protect him, you will find the food and water, you will dictate what gets done – and when. In short, you are the Authority. If you want to stay safe yourself, then you MUST become the leader.

In reality, this is not hard to do, once you have learned to speak horse!


  • the horse craves safety
  • the horse wants to “veg out”
  • the horse needs a leader to follow
  • the leader only needs to be smarter, not necessarily bigger or stronger
  • the horse has memory
  • the horse has intelligence and can actually plan things in the short term
  • the horse responds in the only way it knows how, with body language – sometimes very overtly!
  • the horse lives in the present, forgives often, but never forgets
  • the horse wants to please

Your job is to:

  • be the leader
  • be compassionate
  • speak horse
  • continue to learn and grow
  • be in the moment with the horse

In other words, be present and attentive to what is happening at the moment and not thinking about all the rest of the things happening in your life.