Horses may not be able to talk, but that doesn’t mean they can’t communicate. A recent study found that when a horse snorts, it’s likely that the animal is happy.

Horses use body language and sounds to express how they feel, just like humans. To learn how the animals might use sounds to convey emotions, researchers watched horses that were either in a cramped stall or outside in a pasture. They found that horses tended to snort more when they were eating, resting, or engaging in playful activity out on the grass.

More work is needed to confirm that snorting indicates happiness, says Mathilde Stomp, an animal behaviorist at the University of Rennes in France who conducted the study. “The next step is to investigate snorting in working conditions,” she says. If horses snort a lot while pulling carriages, performing in races, or carrying heavy loads, it could contradict Stomp’s findings—or show that horses just enjoy a hard day’s work.