by Anke Rottmann
Photo: unsplash.com/Stephen Mayes (symbol photo)
We love our horses, sure. But: Do horses love us humans also back? Or are we just feeders on two legs for them?? Horses.de reveals 7 signs with which your horse shows its love and affection.
As soon as the horse hears your voice in the pasture, it gallops towards you, whinnying happily – yes, that’s what many horse owners dream about. The truth usually looks different: The horse’s head goes up once for a moment, maybe a soft snort, and they continue to graze in a relaxed manner. This does not mean that your horse does not love you!
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Because this exuberant "Hurray, there you are at last, I’m coming" greeting from the horse is often not a sign of infinite love at all, but rather an indication that the horse lacks conspecifics as social partners. If it has no animal friends, the human being becomes the linchpin. This may flatter our ego – but we are not enough for the horse’s happiness.
The question remains: Can horses love people at all?? Yes, say researchers. Italian scientists have measured the heart rate of a horse during contact with its caregiver. The result: after a few minutes of approach and relaxation, the heartbeat of man and animal have synchronized. And that, researchers say, is a strong sign of affection.
Now we do not have constantly measuring instruments with us, in order to recognize the affection of our horse. Fortunately, there are also other signals that show you that your horse likes you.
1. Your horse follows you
If your horse likes to be near you and follows you, it means that he likes you. Very! Try it out, ideally in an empty riding hall, for example, after riding. Take off the saddle, take off the bridle, put up the halter.
Then pay attention to your horse: If it has its ears close to you, it turns its head towards you? Then turn around and go. If it follows you directly, it shows its trust in you and your leadership. If it does not come immediately, do not give up. Wait again, until the attention is with you, turn around, go away. Your horse learns quickly that he can trust you.
Photo: pixabay.en/ Pezibear (symbol photo)
2. Relaxation means love
Horses are escape animals. That means: They always check the whole environment with all their senses – suddenly a danger could jump out of the bushes. If it can relax with you, it shows: I’m safe with you – for horses a clear proof of their trust and thus their affection. You recognize the relaxation when:
- Your horse relieves his hind legs
- tilt the ears to the side
- the lower lip hangs loosely down
- the eyes are half closed
3. Your horse stands next to you
You’ve probably seen it before in the pasture: If horses are friends, they often eat parallel to each other. Even when playing, they usually walk parallel and when they groom each other, then – right: parallel. So if your horse stands parallel to you and looks at the goings-on in the stable lane together with you, for example – then that’s proof of friendship.
4. Your horse can smell you well
When your horse lays its head on your shoulder, in most cases this is also a sign of affection. Pay attention to it: Does it then breathe deeply and calmly? Then it shows that it can smell you well. Even if it closes its eyes and relaxes, it means: I like you!
Photo: pixabay.en/Martine Kooi (symbol photo)
5. With a greeting, a horse shows its love
Okay, at this point it becomes very individual. Depending on the type of horse, a growl, a neigh or simply the lifting of the head can already mean: Hello, there you are. Does your horse sniff your hand when you hold it out?? Super! It’s like a handshake.
6. Your horse trusts you
If your horse listens to you in situations that seem suspect – that’s a very big sign of love and affection. Because that means it’s familiar to you. When you’re out riding, suddenly there’s an object on the side of the trail that your horse absolutely doesn’t want to pass by? It goes on calmly because you stay calm. Hey, celebrate the moment! It is pure affection!
7. It takes care of you
There are small signals from horses that we humans like to overlook. If your horse lowers its head, it takes a step back, its ears are turned to the side, i.e. neutral? With it your horse wants to be polite to you and take consideration for you.
As you can see, there are many ways your horse can show you love. We just have to learn to understand them correctly!