Just like people, did you know that a smile goes a long way with horses, too? It’s true. In 2016 researchers and psychologists at the University of Sussex performed a study on horses to see if our equine friends could distinguish between facial expressions.

The horses were shown photographs of people with either happy or angry facial expressions. When the horses viewed the pictures with angry faces, they showed signs of stress. Their heart rates increased and they shifted their heads to view the photos with their left eyes. This is significant because many animals react this way when they feel threatened. In contrast, when the horses viewed the photos with smiling faces, they did not react adversely. They had no stress.

This just goes to show that horses can tell when you are in a positive mood or a negative mood. Next time you are around an animal be aware of your face and smile!