7 Ways To Tell If A Horse Is in Pain

7 Ways To Tell If A Horse Is in Pain

Photo – © Monkey Business – Fotolia.com

Pain is an unwanted, unpleasant feeling of discomfort or suffering that may be caused by an injury or illness. It is highly subjective, which means that the one who suffers from it is the only one who can give the precise description of what the pain is actually like. Fortunately for us, humans, we can verbalize and describe that awful feeling. Horses, on the other hand, cannot do the same and many people, unless they are trained to recognize the signals, might not even be aware of what the horse is going through.

Although pain is internal, there are physical indicators that we can read to know if someone is in pain; thus, pain assessment can also be done objectively. One common way is through observation. In humans, objective indicators of pain include facial grimace, guarding behavior, labored breathing, and tightening of facial features among others. Similarly, pain indicators in horses also include facial contortions and gestures. When horses are in pain, it will reflect on their face, though according to a study it is more difficult to note the darker colored horses than the lighter colored ones.

Horses are prey animals. According to Rena Sherwood, predators look for any signs of weakness or pain in a horse herd because those animals are easier to kill. For this reason, despite centuries of domestication, horses still instinctively hide their pains until it is an emergency. But by then, it may be too late for the horse.

According to our source, horsetalk.co.nz, there are 7 facial indicators that horses will give that they are in pain: Ears pinned backwards (this might also indicate annoyance), orbital tightening (eye squeezing), tension above the eye, strained chewing muscles, mouth strained and pronounced chin, strained nostrils, and flattening of the profile.

Here is the link to our original source article about facial indicators in horses that are in pain:

http://horsetalk.co.nz/2013/08/03/horses-pain-experts-identify-facial-indicators

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