Why Do Horses Yawn?

I’m talking to my horse and brushing her. We are having a conversation. Then she yawns. “I’m sorry, am I boring you?” I ask. She yawns again.

Oh my, it’s been a long day!

We’ve been out riding in the pasture, probably about a half hour or so. When she’s brushed and hooves cleaned I turn her loose in her pen. She ducks her head slightly and the mouth opens wide in a grinning yawn. “Did I really wear you out that much?” I say and pat her on the neck and give her a hug.

Is He Sleepy?

One article I read about horses yawning said they, like us, are feeling a bit sleepy when they yawn. Another mentioned horses don’t yawn for the same reasons as we do. For us we experience dips in blood oxygen levels and we take in fresh air. The horse doesn’t inhale when they yawn.

A horse could be trying to level pressure in his ears like we do when we drive over a mountain pass is another thought about why a horse yawns.

Other research brought up more thoughts which I’ll go over in this post.

Is It Pain?

The reason I was most concerned with is the yawn of pain. I hadn’t even considered this line of thinking. Some pain causing yawns could come from colic, Ulcers could be another cause. Bad teeth and facial pain are yet more reasons a horse yawns.

I’d thought yawning was a cute thing horses do from time to time, but after reading about the possible medical reasons puts a new perspective on the subject.

Is It Stress?

Another reason for yawning I found interesting is yawning could be the result of a stress moment. For example if the horse has an upset of some kind like a plastic bag flies through his pasture, he could go bonkers, running, bucking. When he calms down and all returns to normal, he’ll stand and yawn a time or two. Makes me think he’s thinking, “Okay, I’m good. I’m tired.”

Or Is It Boredom?

Boredom is another reason. We all get bored even animals. If you think your horse may be bored there are toys for horses. I wrote about horse toyshere.

The reason that bothers me the most is if my horse is yawning in pain. The veterinarian is the only one who can determine if your horse is in pain or not and what is causing it too. I would say use your own judgment. You understand your horse and his habits best and better than anyone. For sure if you suspect pain call in your vet.

It seems the bottom line may be that no one knows why a horse yawns.

For me, unless I suspect possible pain I’m not going to worry about my horse yawning too much. A horse is going to do what a horse will do and I think yawning is one of those habits. Oh by the way, habit was another reason listed.

Thank you for stopping by. Please leave a comment or ask a question. I’ll do my best to answer.

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