How to Know if Your Horse Loves You

Can animals show affection? If you've ever wondered if your horse loves you, this article's for you.
How to Know if Your Horse Loves You

Last update: 24 October, 2019

When adopting a horse, we all hope that we’ll quickly be able to build a strong bond with him that’s based on friendship and mutual trust. However, there are many owners who wonder how they can recognize these emotions, as well as being aware of their horse’s demonstrations of affection. How can you really tell if your horse loves you?

Body language and demonstrations of affection

Those who have lived with horses already know how intelligent they are, and how they are able to show empathy to other people and animals. However, many people wonder how they can tell if their horse really loves their owner or rider. 

First, you should know that horses mostly use body language to communicate. Although they can emit a wide range of sounds, they tend to express their emotions, perceptions and moods through their postures, movements and facial expressions.

Obviously, there are demonstrations of affection that an animal can’t verbalize, like we can. So, to figure out if your horse loves you, it’s important to pay attention to his body language. 

Your body speaks and your horse knows it

It’s difficult for humans to understand the full potential and diversity of body language. This is because we prioritize verbal communication in our relationships; that is, we mostly express ourselves using words.

However, our body is also a means of communication, and we constantly use it to express how we feel, albeit unconsciously. That’s why a lot of animals can easily detect our mood changes, such as fear, joy or anger, without the need for words.

A girl hugging her horse.

Remember that body language is also part of the communication between people. Although a lot of people forget this, words aren’t the only way we can express ourselves. We also use actions, gestures, postures, looks, etc.

Your body speaks and your horse will understand your love through your gestures and actions better than through your words. So, we should pay attention to our body language when wanting to express our affection and improve our bond with our horses.

Keys to knowing if your horse loves you

Now that we understand that horses express their affection in a non-verbal manner, we can help you identify three concrete signals that show your horses love for you. Here are three keys to knowing how to interpret your horse’s body language. 

Look at his ears

Ears are a key element in a horse’s non-verbal communication. If you take the time to watch his behavior, you’ll see that he adopts different movements and postures with his ears. And, each of them transmits a different message or mood.

To know if your horse loves you, you have to learn how to observe and interpret the movements and positions of his ears. If he has loose and relaxed ears around you, it’s a sign that he feels comfortable with you.

Another positive sign is that the horse keeps its ears slightly back when being ridden. This means the animal is concentrating and is paying close attention to what the rider is communicating to him.

Here are some more ear positions:

  • Flattened and backward: it’s important to be careful because this indicates that the horse may have sudden and unexpected reactions.
  • Ears hanging down both sides of his head: this indicates that the horse is tired or bored.
  • Erect and forward: the horse is alert to its surroundings and can react to strange stimuli.
A horse having its face stroked.

Pay attention to the position of his head and neck

The way the horse moves his head and neck says a lot about his state of mind. If his head and neck are slightly down when you’re around him, it means he’s happy and enjoys being with you.

It’s also possible that your horse will be excited to see you, which is always a good thing. He’ll show this by raising his head and neck.

Interpret his tail movements

A horse’s tail also says a lot about his emotions and his feelings about his environment. Like dogs, horses often put their tails between their legs when they’re scared or want to express submission to another individual. However, if his tail is raised, then it means he’s happy or excited.

Remember: a raised tail, slightly drooping lips and slightly backward ears are all excellent signs that your horse loves you and enjoys your company.

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