Your horse’s ears let you know where he’s receiving his information from. In a schooling environment where your horse is either at liberty or on a single line, his inside ear will be rotated towards you, in what I call a “locked-on-to-me” position. I would recommend that you see this at least 75% of the time or more; ideally you are looking for 100%. This tells you that your horse is paying attention to you and listening to what you have to say. The outside ear will focus on motion and sounds from outside the round pen/arena/paddock or picadero.

The ears will also reflect emotions or how a horse is feeling at any time. If his ears are flat back, he may become aggressive; if they are perked forward he is paying attention or alert to something in front. When saddling a young horse, he will have his ears facing toward the saddle, not because he is upset or mean, but because he is taking in information from the rear. Horses often display “floppy” ears when they are uncertain or confused.

Anna Twinney is an internationally respected Equine Specialist, Natural Horsemanship Clinician, Animal Communicator and Intuitive Healer. She has recently launched the DVD series Reach Out to Natural Horsemanship (her latest is De-mystifying the Round Pen) and conducts clinics in Europe, Australia, Canada and the USA.