Understanding and Recognizing Equine Emotions: Depression, PTSD, Pain and How to Help Horses Overcome Emotional Trauma

Those of us who have close relationships with horses understand that equines are highly intuitive and deeply emotional beings—even capable of improving emotional distress in humans. But how can we aid horses when we don't recognize or understand their emotional needs?

The first step is learning how to visually observe and read the horse.

Text below and image above cited from: EquiFACS: The Equine Facial Action Coding System, by Jen Wathan Anne M. Burrows Bridget M., Waller Karen McComb

Fig 1. The facial muscles of the horse.

NB. Levator labii superioris a.n. represents the levator labii superioris alaeque nasi, which is often also called the levator nasolabialis. Synonyms for the levator annuli oris fascialis muscle include the dilator nares muscle and the caninus muscle. The frontoscutularis has a frontal and a temporal arm. 

It’s been documented that horses have at least 17 distinct facial expressions, similar in response to a human' s 27. Horses can clearly...

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