Horse Sounds Part III: The Neigh

David Sanderson All About Horses

For the third part of our series on horse sounds, today we will briefly discuss the neigh. If you would like to view our previous posts on this topic, please check out the post on the snort – and the nicker.

So what is a neigh and does it mean?

The Neigh starts out as a squeal, but ends up as a nicker. The neigh is the loudest and longest of the horse sounds. The neigh is not a sound of fear. It is usually heard when a horse is being separated from others. But, it really depends on the situation.

A horse might neigh with his head high, looking around for other horses or people. The horse usually neighs several times (if the horse neighs after a companion has answered his neigh, he is usually saying “Where are you?”.

Some horses neigh when greeting, and for some it might meant that they are in pain or frustration. Body clues are also important. Check the ears – if they are pointed toward you, it’s listening to you, if they are leaning back the horse is irritated, if they are PINNED back then the horse is really mad, and if they are pricked straight up it’s listening to something. Also check for clues in the tail – if it’s swishing, it could be angry or just swatting at flies.

Below is an example of what a neigh might sound like. CLICK TO LISTEN!

Sample of a Neigh