9 Reasons Why Do Horses Whinny

Can you help your horse without knowing why it’s whinnying? Yes, a whinny or neigh is a sweet sound to the ears, but it should worry you if it becomes too much. So, we’re going to look at nine reasons why horses do whinny.

If a horse whinnies, it’s normal. It shows that your horse needs many things. The needs of the horse will depend on the pitch of whinny. You will need to be keen.

Most parents and teachers tell little children that the main sound coming from a horse is a whinny or neigh. But what does the noise mean?

So, if you’re ready, let’s first look at what is a whinny or neigh.

What’s a Whinny?

Whinnying is a simple way through which horses express themselves. As humans, we may fail to know what a horse says in a whinny. Also, you can call it a neigh.

A simple whinny or a neigh lasts for 1.5 seconds at most. You can hear it even when you’re half a mile away.

Horses make the sound in three parts. It will start with a high pitch, then create a rhythm of medium pitches, and then the sound will be low in the end. Remember, the sounds can be musical but with different messages.

So, to the main thing, what makes the horses whinny? Let’s look at the nine reasons.

1. The horses are talking

Every animal has a way of communicating. As for the horses, whinnying is a way of talking to one another.

So, sometimes it won’t be that loud to scare you even when you’re far from them. If it gets more audible than usual, check and see if the horses are in a good state.

Your horse will always love to engage someone or a fellow horse to keep them in a good mood. And while in that company, they will talk through whinnying.

It’s a reaction that a horse is giving to its fellow horse that is also neighing. So, it shouldn’t worry you if you hear your horse keeps on whinnying in the herd. The horses are having a good time together.

2. The horses whinny to show love

The horses whinny to show love

Besides greeting you and other horses, a horse will whinny to show love to you. If you have one horse, it will wait for you to walk together at the gate.

If you have two horses, they will ‘hug’ one another by touching their nostrils together. After that, they will walk together as they whinny. Isn’t that sweet of horses?

Also, the whinnying will come together with biting in some horses. Horse biting is like kissing. So, horses tend to put their lips and teeth on each other or on us (but don’t accept it every time). You’ll notice that their ears and eyes are soft as they neigh.

In some horses, they will close their eyes as they neigh to show that they love you. Remember, horses make your relationship simple. A horse will be faithful to a friendship, who to love and tolerate around them.

3. It wants someone

When you miss someone, you call or text the person. But as for a horse, the best call it can make is by whinnying. Horses love company, whether it’s with you or another horse.

Even if you or the horse is miles away, you will hear it calling. And as the voice keeps getting louder, you’ll know that the horse needs someone very fast. Also, the neigh will be more comfortable as it calls for you.

Remember, a comfortable whinnying makes the horse have ears that lean forward. It will have a serious look and will lift its tail.

If you see the horse showing these signs while neighing, know that it misses someone. So, at that time, if you know the best friend for your horse, take it to the person. But if it’s you, please talk to the horse, rub its back, or take it for a ride.

Also, you can take to have the company of other horses. If the horses are near, the neigh will attract them to come and be with the horse. Isn’t that a beautiful thing?

4. Having bad moods

Yes, horses have feelings. So, your horse can whinny when something disturbs its peace, frustrated, and when in fear.

Look at this example. What will you do if someone removes you from your family and it’s not your choice? The next thing is to cry out loud.

When a horse is in fear, the whinnying will be tense and in high pitch. It will scare you even if you’re far.

It’s the same with horses. If you’re about to take the horse from its family or herd, you’ll hear it make a sharp whinny. And if you don’t give the horse what it wants, it will keep on neighing many times and with a loud voice.

So, the horse will be telling you that, ‘I don’t want to leave my family.’

What if it’s under tension? The horse will whinny with a loud voice and many times. You’ll have to be keen and know what’s wrong with the horse.

If it’s something you can correct, please do it and make the horse comfortable. But if you can’t find anything and the whinny continues, call a horse vet to check its status. Sometimes, the neighing might not be usual, even if it’s an exciting sound.

5. The horse is happy

We all have that one voice we make when we achieve our goals. Well, horses can also show you that they are happy when you give them what they want.

For example, when you bring the horse to the rest of the herd after separating it, it will whinny to show that it’s happy to be home. Horses are so glad when with others or even with you.

As you groom your horse, it will be happy. Before it tends to give you back the favor of dressing it, your horse will neigh because it will be glad. It’s because the horse won’t be able to contain the joy.

Sometimes it’s hard to know that a horse is happy even with the whinnying sound. So, you’ll check for the following things to see if it’s comfortable.

  • The horse will tend to close the eyes
  • One of the hind legs will rest.
  • It will give a heavy sigh as it neighs.
  • The horse will want to play with you every moment.
  • Your horse will lower its head.
  • It will pay attention to you as it neighs.
  • It will engage you in doing many things.

Also, these signs will help you work well with your horse and make it feel better.

6. The horses are mating

When horses mate, they will make sounds. So, if a stallion is in love with the mare, it will show interest by wooing her.

But how will it happen? The stallion will make many soft, deep, and pleasing whinnying sounds. Also, the female horse will make the same sounds if it’s also in love with the stallion.

The vocal cords of the stallion will relax when it neighs in such moments. Remember, how high the stallion will make the sound will depend on how much it needs to mate.

What if the stallion makes the sound for long? It means that that the horse is on heat and needs the company of a mare for sex. So, you’ll have to get it another mate if that mare doesn’t respond.

Once the stallion finds a willing partner, it will neigh to show that it’s happy. The horses would have found contact to satisfy their needs.

7. When something is wrong

When something is wrong

What will come to your mind if you hear a loud whinny from your horse? Well, it’s simple. Your horse will be in danger.

This sound from your horse won’t give you peace. You’ll have to provide the horse with more attention. Remember, it can whinny while you’re riding, feeding, and grooming it, or even when it’s resting in the stalls.

So, while on the horse and it neighs, what might be the problem? Here are the possible things that can happen:

  • The horse is feeling some pain on the back or has an injury
  • It saddles or the horse equipment isn’t in good shape and hurting the horse.
  • You will have lost your balance on the horse, and thus it’s uncomfortable for it.
  • The horse is hungry or tired.
  • Lastly, there’s some danger that the horse has seen, and you’ve yet to see it.

With such signs, there will be a loud whinny from your horse. Also, the horse will sweat a lot and even fart. You’ll have to attend to your horse first before getting back to ride it.

But what if you’re not riding the horse and you hear it neigh? Yes, there will still be a problem with the horse. Here, the possibilities of an issue are not as much as when riding it.

The horse will need your company. But it would be best if you don’t assume a horse’s call. Sometimes your horse will sense a problem or danger when you’re not around.

Also, the whinny will mean to alert the rest of the herd of the issue. The horse will continue to neigh until when you or the other horses notice the problem as well.

8. Your horse is requesting for something

Look at it from the point when a child wants something from the parent. The kid will cry until when they get the need.

It’s the same with the horses. Your horse will keep on neighing until when you give it what it wants. Mostly, it will whinny if it needs something straight like food or water.

If you make a feeding or eating timetable, it will adapt to it. So, if you’re to give it water or hay at 1 pm and it’s already 1.30 pm, you’ll hear it whinny.

But how will the whinny sound? It will have a high pitch to show its problem. Also, the ears will keep on laying back and front.

The eyes will roll in the eyeballs as it lifts the tail up and down. Also, some horses tend to tuck the tail and change to make it look tiny.

And if you’re late to attend to its request of food or water, the horse will keep on whinnying. Yes, it will have the power to do so for long.

9. The horse is sick

The horse is sick

When the horse is sick, it will neigh to tell you about it. Your horse needs to be happy every time. So, if it’s not joyful, it might be sick.

Since you have a good relationship with your horse, it will whinny while getting closer to you. Also, your horse will be inactive while whinnying when sick.

Your horse will neigh with a low voice when it’s sick. It’s because it’s suffering from some conditions. So, it won’t be the same as when neighing because of other needs.

Besides, diseases will have different ways of affecting the horse’s voice. But most infections will make the horse neigh in a low pitch.

Also, you’ll see changes in body temperature, moods, and change in eating habits, feet, and weight.

Remember, knowing the way your horse is whinnying is vital in understanding its’ health status. If you see that your horse doesn’t whinny in its usual way, call your horse vet to check for any complication.


The sweetest sound that horses make is a whinny. It’s the best way to know that it’s talking or wants something. But you have to be keen on the pitch of the whinny.

Different neighs from the horse have various reasons. If horse whinnies loudly and for a long time, then know that something is wrong. A soft and low pitch whinny means that your horse loves your company or it’s sick.

Remember, if you hear your horse neigh, give it your attention.

So, do you have any questions or more insights about the reasons why horses neigh? Would you please share them with us?

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