What Does A Horse Say? 7 Sounds & Their Meanings

As a professional horse whisperer, I often get the question; what does a horse say? Horses are pack animals and prefer to have friends around them to feel safe in case of danger is coming.

They communicate with each other as well as they are seeking contact with human beings. Horses are friendly animals by nature, and they reflect their friends – two or four-legged.

They communicate with:

what does a horse say

Table of Contents

What Does A Horse Say?

The horse makes sounds because it is trying to communicate. So, what vocal noises does a horse make?

When horses communicate with other horses, they have seven sounds. Here I will explain the sounds horses make when communicating.

The Neigh

The neigh is loud sound horses make that come out of their mouth. At first, the horse will sense the surroundings, one horse, or a human being. It will start to sense the others by keeping its mouth shut and having a raised head to see what is out there. It will begin to suck in air through the nostrils, and after a while, you can hear a loud whinny coming out from the horse’s mouth.

The Nicker

The horse nickers are commonly heard in the stables and are a softer horse sound than the horse neigh. It sounds like a quiet and deep grunt from the animal’s mouth, vocal cords, and nostrils. It almost seems the horse can make the sounds with its mouth closed.

The Snort

The horse snorts and makes a calm sound as if the horse takes a deep breath and sends all the air from the whole body out through the nostrils when meeting other people or horses.

The Squeal

The horse squeal is a horrible sound two horses make when fighting energetically, physically, or telepathically. It is very loud and different from what you usually hear in the stables, and then you know something is off. Your horse doesn’t feel safe at all. It feels like the horse is screaming through the nose and nostrils while showing its teeth to another horse.

The Groan

The horse groans, almost sounding as if the horse is letting out air through the nostrils with much air coming out of the nose. It is a soft and short grunt, which the horse can make repeatedly.

The Sigh

Horses sigh when they breathe heavily through their nose. The horse sigh is a calm and relaxed sound, as if your horse took a deep breath and exhaled while being extremely relaxed.

The Scream

The horse’s scream sounds like a scream coming out from the horse’s mouth. It reminds me of the squealing sounds, but this sound often happens with horses in nature.

Additional reading: How to stop a horse from biting?

what does a horse say
what does a horse say
horse whisperer
what does a horse say

Why Do Horses Neigh?

The horse neighs or whines when the horse is excited to see a human or another horse. It feels as if they are calling each other’s names. The horse neighs or tends to whine to get attention from other horses. 

Some horses use this sound to remind other horses that it is present. That can be in a situation if a horse suffers from separation anxiety and wants to communicate that it is here.

Why Do Horses Nicker?

The horse nicker is a softer call for attention in their communication form. 

Nickering usually occurs when a male horse or stallion tries to communicate with a mare to mate. Mares also nicker when they are calling back their foal for them to be safe and closer to the mom. 

You can also hear these familiar horse sounds in the stable, and then you know the horse is safe and connected with the surroundings or human beings.

Why Do Horses Snort?

The horse noise can be louder or calmer, and the horse snort is one of the communicating sounds the horses make that most horse owners know of. 

The horses react when they meet other horses, new horses, or even human beings because they want to figure out what to do with themselves in the hierarchy. Snorting is a positive form of communication. 

The horse senses if it meets domestic horses or domestic human beings and reacts to that energy. You would see this if you used to “join up” with your horse in liberty too.

The horse is letting others around them know that they are happy, safe, and content at that moment. 

As a horse owner, you often hear that sound when your horse is comfortable, gets its favorite food, when you groom it, or when meeting other horses they are feeling safe with.

Additional reading: How to stop a horse from bucking.

Why Do Horses Squeal?

Horses squeal when they are fighting with other horses. This aggressive communication form is not a good sign at all. Some mares squeal to reject when a gelding or stallion is trying to mate. 

Some horses squeal as a warning when they meet a strange horse or strange horses for the first time and feel insecure about their behavior or dominance.

Why Do Horses Groan?

There are several reasons why horses make groaning sounds.

The typical reasons are:

In conclusion, horses make groaning sounds when they are satisfied and when they are not. If you are in doubt, you can quickly look at other signals from your horse, such as:

Why Do Horses Sigh?

A horse sighs when it experiences a relaxed moment and feels safe. They sigh while being groomed, getting a massage, spa, laser, or being petted by human beings. 

They also sigh when they rub up to another horse friend. Other horses yawn instead of the sigh. Not all horses sigh, and that is normal too. Your horse can still be satisfied and feel safe without the horse sigh.

Why Do Horses Scream?

When you see running horses and a horse suddenly changes direction, makes a leg kicking at another horse, or suddenly stops, you can hear other horses scream. Wild horses will use the scream when fighting with another horse or if the horse experiences severe pain or is injured.

Additional reading: How to get a horse to trust you?

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Ditte Young

Ditte Young has worked as a spiritual coach, therapist and clairvoyant for 23 years. She is an author of 3 books about animal communication and is known as Denmark's most recognized animal communicator.

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