Although neighing, indeed, is an endearing sound, too much of it can be rather puzzling. Without knowing why your beloved horse is neighing, or "whinnying," all day, you can't do much to help the poor thing, either. Neighing can signify everything from courtship desires to a simple "here I am."
Looking for Someone
If your horse keeps neighing nonstop, it may be because he cannot find one of his favorite companion equines. Since neighing is such an extended vocalization, the sound can travel quite far. By neighing, your horse may be trying to indicate his specific spot to someone he deeply misses. If you have any idea where your horse's pal in question is, you may be able to point him into the right direction.
A persistently neighing horse may be doing so even as a general reaction to another horse's neighing. If you can't figure out why your horse is being so vocal, it may be simply that he's conversing with a remote member of his "herd."
Frustration and Nerves
Some horses also whinny when they're feeling frustrated, nervous and perhaps even lonely. If your horse is feeling on edge about being away from others, he may emit rather piercing neighs constantly. Apart from just whinnying, he may express his tension also by giving off some loud screams. If this is the case, your horse may be dealing with serious separation anxiety, which goes beyond just trying to track down another animal. Do not hesitate to consult an equine veterinarian if you are ever concerned that your horse's neighing may be abnormal.
Nonstop neighing can even indicate something as straightforward as hunger. If it's around that time of day when you feed your horse or give him a treat, he may get a little impatient and start neighing to you as a "reminder." If you're a little later than usual, don't be surprised if his neighs just keep going and going until he gets what he needs.
If you hear a horse whinnying while in the presence of other horses, it may be because he notices something peculiar in his field of vision, and essentially is cautiously "alerting" his pals to the potential threat. If your horse continues to see the peculiarity, he just may continue neighing until the others notice what's going on, as well.
A horse also may keep neighing if he's feeling particularly happy and excited about something. Maybe he's just been reunited with one of his greatest buds and can't contain the emotion.
If a hormonally-fueled stallion has his sights set on a specific mare, he may communicate the interest in mating by wooing her with a bunch of soft, deep and extended neighing sounds. If he keeps the neighing up seemingly "nonstop," then he's probably really serious about getting her attention.
- Rutgers University Extension: Basics of Equine Behavior
- University of Pennsylvania Veterinary Medicine: Reproductive Behavior of the Stallion
- Central Florida Livestock Agents' Group: Horse Psychology & the Language of Horses
- University of Tennessee Knoxville Agricultural Extension Service: Understanding Horse Behavior
- University of Minnesota Extension: Horse Behavior and Stable Vices
- George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images