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Horse Eye and Behavior Relationship
 By Winniefield Park   •   21st Jul 2018   •   744 views   •   0 comments
Horse Eye and Behavior Relationship

If you look at different horses, you will start to notice that beyond color, markings, height and build, there are many more subtle differences between them. You might think that all horseís eyes are exactly the same. But, weíve seen that there are different colors of eyes. And, there are different shapes and positions on the horseís head too. Some of what we think of horseís eyes is folklore, and some of it is backed up by research.

Round Eyes
Large soft round eyes are appealing and give the impression that the horse is kind and trusting. Large hard eyes can give the impression of a proud horse. This is the kind of horse you want if youíre really competitive. Small, hard eyes suggest tension. A tense horse is more resistant to learning, so go slowly until he understands. Pig eyed horses are often stubborn, slow learners with a mind of their own. As a horse learns to become more trusting, or its environment changes the eyes can change too, going from hard to soft or visa versa.

Almond Eyes
When I think of the horseís Iíve known with almond eyes, I think of horses that took a long time to warm up to their person, but once they did, stayed very attached. These horses can look a bit standoffish, but can be wise in their way.

Drooping Lids or Squinting Eyes
Sleepy-eyed horses tend to be slow thinkers and thatís okay for beginner horses or kidís ponies. They might not be the brightest light on the Christmas tree, but they will put one foot in front of the other without too much fuss. Just donít push them too hard or they could shut down altogether.

Eyes Set Forward or Back
Horses with forward set eyes may be spooky, especially when something comes up from behind. If you have a horse that freaks out when it's in the cross ties and someone walks up behind you might have a horse with forward set eyes. Itís thought that these horses canít see behind them well, because the bone acts almost like a blinker.

A horse with eyes set further back than normal might be spooky than the average horse too. Or, they may seem more shut down. Itís felt that these horses have restricted vision, especially of the eyes are also small.

Wide or Narrow Between the Eyes
Itís thought that a horse that has a wide space between its eyes - a nice broad forehead is a quick learner. They learn too quickly for some riders though, who through inexperience or inattention donít learn as quickly. Those with a more narrow forehead may learn a bit slower, but they donít Ďunlearní as quickly, and once theyíve learned something it sticks.

Deep Suborbital Depression
The suborbital depressions are the circular hollows above the eyes. I donít know they are called suborbital depressions when they are over, not under the eye, other than it sort of corresponds with the soft tissue area under our own eyes, that place where dark circles develop from too little sleep. But anyway, youíll notice that when a horse eats, this area tends to rise and sink. And, while it is a bit of a depression on most horses, on horses who have experienced hard lives, this area tends to become very sunken in.

Eye Wrinkles
You might have noticed with a horse you know well, that depending on their mood, the surrounding eye area changes and there can be wrinkles. Sometimes, the horse even looks worried. Research has backed up that the wrinkles around the eyes can indicate a horseís emotions. But, those wrinkles may mean exactly opposite of what we would think they do. According to a 2015 study done by a student in Bern, Switzerland, suggested more defined wrinkles may indicate the horse is interested, but not necessarily stressed. So watch a horse you know and see if this fits your observations.
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