There are many ways to tune into your horse and find out how he or she feels… One of them is body language through facial expression. I have made a photographic overview of the process of my wonderful mare Shamala over the past four years. The first photograph was taken after a month she was in my care, and it felt very wrong to make a photograph earlier because she was in such bad shape. I am personally not very fond of showing before and after pictures, but for sake of the evolution in expression that is visible I think it might be helpful for others… By taking a close look at each of these photographs you will be able to see how she transforms over time from a horse that is closed down and in pain (emotionally and physically) to an open, wise and sensitive being : who she truly is…

There are three very clear aspects in a horses’ facial expression that you can take into account when you are tuning in: the eyes, the ears and the mouth. Besides these aspects you can take a look at the energy that is being overall radiated…

Over time you can see that Shamala’s eyes reveal in the beginning mistrust, pain, being closed down and evolve to a more and more open gaze, twinkles in her eyes, more depth (soul) and softness… If your horse has no light in his eyes and has a flat expression, it shows that he cannot bring out his inner self into this world…

Her ears show in the beginning lack of energy and mistrust, you can see very clearly in the first photograph that she would rather not be there… the ears become more and more energised over time and have an alertness, attention and make connection to the environment around her. More and more inner peace is developed within, which makes it easier to connect harmonically with the outer world… Although her ears are in the first and last photograph pointed backward they show a completely different expression.

Her mouth grows over time also to a softening of the lips, more sensitivity through subtle expression and calmness. Shamala is a very very sensitive horse, so her lips easily become tensed. Lips give extra information, I believe the eyes are the most important aspect to see how your horse feels on the deeper levels… Although you can also discover information in the lips about the physical health of your horse, when they are lacking any energy for instance the lips are very numb…

Her overall energy you can see and feel by looking more globally. What she radiates in the beginning is density, it is as if the outside world enters her and she is absorbed by it. In the end she radiates her inner energy out and shines her light upon the outer world, she is able to express her soul…

Just as we humans have a huge variety in our emotional expression, as do horses… there are many subtleties that you can discover, that is why it is good to take a look at the overall energy. If your horse reveals resistance to a question you ask him, it is very good to check whether his eyes still carry his light. If this is the case, then you won’t be facing a major problem. When the eyes of your horse are dead, your horse is dying on the inside, this is when you need to be alarmed and make major changes in your horses’ life. Mostly if these problems are not solved health problems and serious behavioural problems arise, this is a means of communication to show you more clearly that there is something serious going on… There is a lot to say to tune in with your horses’ well being, because you will be able to be responsive and make changes for the better and avoid major problems…

Helena Sidiropoulos

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