This is Part 3, of a 4 part Equitopia series which Saddle Research Trust has been delighted to collaborate with, involving some stellar professional practitioners who are (equine) household names.
Part 3 is all about this fascinating yet easy to learn translation of horses’ facial expressions. It is humbling to realise just how very expressive and communicative they are and yet, in many cases we are still at the caveman phase when trying to understand what it is our horse is trying to tell us. It’s clear from this film that horses are extremely expressive. Once we learn to read their facial expressions there is a real opportunity for welfare to improve for both horses and humans.
Most horse owners and practitioners are confident with translating ‘happy’, ‘sleepy’ and ‘not very happy’ but even this may be misunderstood. As a lifelong (quite long, really!) horse owner, I had no idea about the wrinkle between the nostrils, for example. It was an expression which I did not understand or was able to translate, prior to watching this film.
There is clear guidance on understanding the connection between pain and fear too and Part 3 of this invaluable series, Recognising Facial Expressions of a Horse in Pain does not disappoint.
Dr Sue Dyson and Dr Jeannine Berger’s amazing work will become a standard part of the “toolbox” for all riders, owners, veterinarians and other practitioners. It is a wonderful breakthrough to be able to recognise pain – and be able to call for help and diagnostics more quickly, avoiding further injury or even dangerous situations.
Enjoy this one as part of your learning journey.
Find out more on this topic at the Saddle Research Trust International Conference on the 8th December.