Why Does My Horse Yawn? Brought to You by Banixx

Photo by Shellie Sommerson.

When your horse yawns, what does he really mean? Horses yawn for a variety of reasons. Studies reveal these as possible reasons:

  • State of drowsiness – perhaps relaxed/relaxation in your horse; but not the same as in humans (drops in blood oxygen levels)
  • Environmental stress or anticipation – herd dominance, social queues, anticipation
  • Gastrointestinal discomfort such as ulcers
  • Tempo-mandibular tension and/or pain – stretching, pain reaction
  • Liver distress – usually associated with other signs of liver disease (jaundice tissue, loss of condition, diarrhea, discolored urine, and abdominal pain)
  • Apparently, males yawn more often than females. So, that is something that mares don’t get the ‘bad rap’ on!
  • Is your horse yawning because he is calming or, is he yawning to relieve stress? (Calming queues, like  licking and chewing, stretching down, etc.). If stress induced, what can you do to relieve his stressors? If gastrointestinal, liver or pain is suspected, contact your veterinarian.
  • Or, like mine… FEED ME!!!!

Next time your horse yawns, look around — what is going on in the environment when he yawns? Does your horse seem calm or stressed?

Share your observations with us – Gender? What is going on? Does it seem to be stress or calming or perhaps communication of some sort?

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