What are the sounds that a horse makes and why do they make those sounds?

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A horse can whinny, scream, nicker, and even low growl. When a horse nickers it can mean that it likes something, or when it's feeding time, they nicker to their feeders. When it screams it can mean a warning, an urgent call, or (GET AWAY!!!). When a horse whinnies, it may be trying to find something, answering another horse, or letting something (or someone) know that it is his.



The Neigh or Whinny




A neigh sounds like a squeal followed by a nicker and is very loud.
The term whinny is also used to refer to a neigh.
When a horse neighs (or whinnies) with his head high, he is looking for other horses or people.

 The Nicker


The nicker sound is produced when a horse creates a vibrating sound with his mouth closed using the vocal cords.
When a horse nickers quietly, and moves toward a horse or person, he is saying "hello".
When a horse nickers intensely and shakes his head, he wants to mate.
When a nicker is much softer and quieter than a "hello" nicker, it's usually made by a mare to her foal.

 The Blow


The blow sound is produced when a horse exhales through his nose with his mouth shut.
A horse blows when it's curious, or when greeting another horse.
When horses meet nose to nose and blow on each other, they are greeting each other.
  • If the horses continue blowing gently followed by other actions such as nuzzling, they are friends.
  • If one or both of the horses nip at the other, stomp their front feet, strike out, or squeal, it means they are enemies.





When a horse blows at something he usually curious.
  • If the horse relaxes all is well.
  • If the horse tenses up or shies away, it senses danger.
 The Snort


The snort sound is produced when a horse exhales through his nose with his mouth shut and produces a vibrating sound in the nostrils. Very often the horse holds his head up while snorting.
When a horse snorts and stares at an object he is checking for danger.

 The Squeal


A horse squeals with his mouth shut.
When a horse squeals it means no.

 The Scream


A horse screams while fighting with another horse.
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