Free download two communication ladders

During my study of Calming Signals of Horses I have analysed 220 films of domesticated horses. I have observed the ear, tail, head and body position. I have looked at the shape of eyes, nose and mouth. The communicative signals and features that I have seen at least 35 times in various situations I have linked to tension levels and put into a graphic ladder. This enables you to more easily recognise various behaviours and features of your horse. You can see if his tension stays level, lowers, or rises. If the tension does not lower but rises, you can step in and help your horse. Which will improve his welfare, socialisation and training.

The signals you see on the ladders can have various meanings. For instance a horse can rub his head to his knee because he has an itch or because he has rising tension and he wants to discharge that tension (the rubbing might be a displacement activity). The signals, features, context and communicative meaning of behaviours are explained and showed by photo and video during my lectures. You can also read more about them in my book “Language Signs and Calming Signals of Horses”.

More languages will follow
The ladders which you can download here for free, will appear in more languages. Available now is English, Finnish, German, Danish and Dutch. The languages Polish, Swedish and Slovak are in the making and will be added soon. With gratitude towards the translators: Ewa Rumistrzewicz (Polish), Angelica Hesselius (Swedish), Venya Kršňa (Slovak), Iris Starnberger (German) and Nina Mäki-Kihniä, Susanna Hämäläinen (Finnish), Ute Lehmann (Danish) and Catherine Taks (French).

Translating or adapting the ladders yourself without consent of the publisher is not allowed.

Tips on the usage of the ladder
• See if you recognise behaviours of your horse
• Look at the same time at your horses body and facial features. Ask yourself is he relaxed or tense? How tense?
• See if you can establish to what stimulus or stimuli or situation your horse is responding to. Look at the context of the behaviour.
• If your horse is tense, see if his tension stays level, lowers or rises.
• If the tension does not lower. Help your horse! Change the situation so that he can deal with it in a relaxed state. And if necessary make a practise plan.


French – for reproduction – Ladder 3.3

French – for reproduction – Ladder 3.4

Danish – for reproduction – Ladder 3.3

Danish – for reproduction – Ladder 3.4

Dutch – for reproduction – Ladder 3.3 p.116

Dutch – for reproduction – Ladder 3.4 p.119

English – Communication Ladder: Fight or flight (PDF)

English – Communication Ladder: Recovery after tension and schock (PDF)

Finnish – for reproduction – Ladder 3.3

Finnish – for reproduction – Ladder 3.4

German – for reproduction – Ladder 3.3

German – for reproduction – Ladder 3.4

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