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What it means when a horses ears are back?

Updated: Sep 13, 2021

Its a common misconception that when a horses ears are back that they will kick, that usually is not the case. There is a slight difference between ears back and ears pinned back:

Ears back

When the ears of a horse are pointed backward but not pinned back, the horse could be:

-hearing something and/or paying attention to something behind them.

- about to turn around, lift its head, and run to look at a sound or object.

-unhappy, uneasy and/or tense

-If there are other signs of tension like a swishing tail, turned back ears could turn into pinned back ears.

Ears pinned back

When a horse has their ears pinned back and close to the neck, the horse is angry and this is when the horse could bite or kick.

You can see these behaviours in any situation; when the horse is under saddle around other horses, in the pasture, being groomed, etc. It is important to understand and identify the difference between ears back and ears pinned for your safety and the safety of others.

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