Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What's Going on Inside Your Horse's Head?

Photo by Mike Brinson,
courtesy of TTouch Training
By Kitson

Did you know that shape of a horse’s head can provide clues as to what’s going on inside his head? I learned a bit about how a horse's ears, jowels, eyes, muzzle and other parts of his head and expression can tell about his personality when I tuned into a teleclass given by international animal expert and trainer Linda Tellington-Jones this week. Her systematic and gentle training methods (TTouch Training) allow "people to relate to animals in a deeper, more compassionate way -- a way that furthers inter-species connection and honors the body, mind and spirit of both animals and their people.”

Here are a few things I learned about what she believes a horse's head shape says about the whole horse:

  • A horse with a straight (or flat) profile tends to be uncomplicated and a quick learner. On the other hand, a horse with a more dishy face is likely to be sensitive and timid. The Roman nose can indicate stubbornness.

  • A bulge between a horse’s eyes, according to Tellington, often means the horse is slow to learn. A bulge below the eyes might indicate inflexibility.

  • The ears may not speak, but they say a lot. Depending on breed, the length and shape of the ears, the width between the ears at the base and whether the tips of the ears angle in or out says a lot about the horse. Broad ears can indicate steadiness and reliability. Wide-set ears that stand up straight might indicate a hot horse.

  • Broad-set eyes, a pronounced jowl and a square muzzle indicate a horse that will learn easily and be cooperative in general.

  • A horse that carries his head low indicates that he trusts those around him. A horse with high head-carriage may be spooky and not very trusting.
As for me, I will certainly be looking at my horse with a keener eye for what the shape of his head might say about his personality. But for sure, Taff’s soft, broad-set eyes and wide ears that are set farther apart at the tips -- according to what I learned from Linda -- seem consistent with his quiet and willing nature. Do any of Linda's theories seem to fit with the personalities of horses you know?

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