Researchers compile list of horse facial expressions

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Interesting…But why are there 18 photos in Boing Boing’s chart of 17 expressions? :confused: :wink:


This makes me

10/10, would emoji.


So what you’re saying is, that because a horse’s face is so alien to you that you can’t take seriously the idea that they might have expressions at all, therefore no-one can tell what mood a horse might have?


What’s this one?

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Move over, Kristin Stewart!


I’m saying I love horsies! Love them!


A horse walks into a bar. The bartender asks, “Why the long face?”


My kiddo is learning to ride horses. She started trotting last week.


Not me. Can’t stand them. Long of face, skinny of leg, fat of body. They are bloody expensive and ultimately unrewarding. They don’t seem to like people very much - it’s more like they (mostly) tolerate us for food. They can’t sleep on your bed with you, or watch TV curled up on your lap. Horse people are bafflingly obsessed by them.

In 'straya (and elsewhere) the main interest is in gambling on them, so it really has nothing to do with horses. They are used simply to semi-randomise the outcomes and provide a method for rigging and corruption.

If they get sick, they have to be shot.

When they’re horse-hopping (show jumping), it looks to me like they’d just like to run at the fences, instead of this weird short-stride, tight-reined bouncy thing that the riders get them to do. As for dressage, I just can’t relate to a bunch of rich people silently and breathlessly watching a horse walk around on sand.

But Zara Phillips has shown we common folk that with just a few hundred million pounds behind us, we too could be olympians if we’d just get off our asses. It’s obviously just that we don’t want it enough.

But horses aren’t all bad; I still get a thrill from seeing the horses suddenly stop at fences and steeples in order to throw their curiously dressed riders to the ground.


I dislike them as well. They just happen to be in the sweet spot on the intelligence meter. Any smarter, and they wouldn’t let us ride them. Any dumber and riding one would be a suicide mission.


Did you get sucked in with a groupon like I did?

you can read most of a horses facial expressions in the ears and nostrils. from my time around horses, i’ve found it very easy to tell how a horse is reacting.

…but i do find humor in the chart.


Perhaps her mom did. Though she loves animals and horses. So maybe not.

I love horses!

Couldn’t eat a whole one, though.


This could be a whole series, e.g.


well played. now if only there were some sort of photo that combined putin and horses… :slight_smile:


From the article it looks like they’ve only developed an equivalent of the Facial Action Coding System for horses, but don’t yet have the data on what the different expressions imply for the horse’s underlying emotional appraisal.

It would be very cool if they could link it to Jaak Panksepp’s affective neuroscience work and demonstrate which EFACS coding clusters map to which primal emotions. That way riders might get a brief heads-up before the full blown behaviour develops.

That said, why horses and not dogs? Most of us that have or have had dogs as pets have little difficulty reading them, but a Canine FACS would be a boon to those who have to learn to be with them as adults.

Plus, horses are hugely expensive and cantankerous beings. And in my bitter experience they are a terrible money sink that gold-digging equestrian spouses use to bleed their hard-working non-riding partners dry … :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: Not to mention how often riders end up in hospital being patched up after falling off the blasted things …