Julie Goodnight clinic – Part 2 Equine Communication

 One of my favorite topics from the Julie Goodnight clinic was on equine communication – what horses are really saying! According to Julie, each of the horses four sounds have distinct meanings:

1. The high pitch ‘scream’ – asking their buddy horse “Where are you?” or if their buddy isn’t around “Will anyone be my friend?”

  • This sound is typically heard at my place as soon as I take Kobi out of Sugar’s sight. Not a pretty sound by any stretch of the imagination – Sugar sounds like a sick and dying dinosaur. When Kobi loses sight of Sugar and he ‘screams’ , he sounds panicky and about to lose his mind.

2. The even higher pitch ‘squeal – usually heard when two horses touch noses and sniff or blow to each other. It means “Back off – or I’m going to make you back off.”

  • This sound is heard at my place whenever Kobi and Sugar touch noses and always comes from Sugar – Kobi always backs off, too.

3. The ‘blow’ – After the horse has heard, smelled or even seen something suspicious, they are clearing out their nostrils to get a better scent or better fix on the scent to figure out what’s going on.

  • Not heard too much at my place. Kobi or Sugar are likely equal to ‘blow’ but it appears to be in fun (when they are just running or playing) as much as sensing something out of the norm.

4. And my favorite sound ever, the ‘nicker’ – a gentle, heartwarming sound that means “Come to me.” Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, drop everything and “Come to me.”

  • This sound is heard during each and every feeding time and Kobi or Sugar see anyone when they are ready to come out of their stalls.

Next blog: Julie Goodnight part 3 – issues specific to Kobi and Sugar

About Heather Hamel

Growing up with horses is a little girls dream come true. Heather’s dream in life was to be a horse trainer - how dreams change - sort of! She moved to the wonderfully historic town of St. Augustine, Florida and was a historic tour guide and a ghost story teller while putting herself through college to become a special education teacher. After graduating, she felt the pull of horses in her life again. That's when she met Kobi! She learned quickly that when you own horses you become a part time vet, part time nutritionist, and full time equestrian. She wouldn't change a thing! In addition to being completely obsessed with her herd, she still teaches and tutors students with learning disabilities, and more specifically, dyslexia.
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