We have put together a few tell tail signs that will show you, your horse loves you back. Remember that all animals and humans are different and have their own way of showing emotions, these are guidelines based specifically on a horses natural behavior and instincts.
It’s important to understand that horses don’t show love or affection in the same ways that us humans do. Even as humans we all have different ways of expressing love. Some people might show physical attention, while others might prefer to show affection through actions or trust. This can easily blur the line between us and our furry friends on weather we are showing affection or if we are actually displaying other forms of emotions like dominance or just invading each others personal space. A good way to start understanding your own horse and how they might show affection is to watch them interact with other horses in the field. With this in mind we have put together a few ideas about some behaviors that might just show that your horse loves you.
"YOU BEFORE FOOD"
When your horse is out in the field with his friends and lifts his head from the juicy morsel of grass below as you call, they are left with two very distinct choices to keep enjoying the morsel of grass with his friends or to choose to spend time with you. Now this point can be deceiving, if you regularly greet your horse with carrots or treats then these two distinct choices change. Continue enjoying the grass with their friends? Or to take the trip to more promised lands of carrots and treats, either way this choice is about food. When food is taken out of this equation and we come back to our first two choices. If your horse chooses to walk to you for no other reason than to be in your company, this is a sure sign that your horse enjoys your presence and will most definitely be a big complement to you, well done your horse most certainly loves you!
"YOU LEAD I'LL FOLLOW"
Our second indication that your horse might love you is pretty similar to our first, following you around. We are all well aware that horses are herd animals and if given the choice, they will seldom be found without a buddy or two. Horses like humans do have friends that they will usually enjoy spending more time with as well as others who they would rather be alone then have to share the same bail with. Having a calm, positive and decisive ora around your horse will help him associate you as a
positive environment for him or her to be in as well as see you in a leadership role. If your horse happily follows you around he or she has most likely made the decision that you are a pretty good leader and that they are content to follow your lead and enjoy your company.
"JUST CHECKING YOU STILL GOT THIS"
Our third point can be some what confusing at times, but if you do have a good bond with your horse or at the least know them fairly well! You should be able to figure this one out, If not? Having an outsiders opinion is always helpful, this can be anyone from your fantastic coach, your die hard riding buddy or in some cases a vet or trained professional. Now that we have gotten you slightly concerned about point three we can begin with the tried and tested, does your horse listen to you. As part of a herd mentality someone needs to be at the top and a few can have some secondary post positions, most at middle ranking and the few poor souls at the bottom of the leader board. But these posts are never really set in stone, horses are always proving their dominance, some more so then others. Whether its casually keeping their middle post or trying to work their way to the top. Finding their place in the herd is done by testing the boundaries to see what they can get away with and at which point someone steps in. Testing their humans is imperative for any horse both under saddle and on the
ground. Disobeying your cues, trying to scare or intimidate you and even throwing in a few bucks or two are all ways that your horse could be testing your boundaries, figuring out what they can and can’t do and if you or they are better for the leadership role. This is where the confusing part may come into play. There are many reasons for some of the behaviors mentioned above. Things like incorrect or confusing aids, pain or ill-fitting equipment could also be the cause. If you know your horse you should be able to determine if they are just pushing some boundaries or if there are in fact other issues at play, speaking to others can also help you determine this if you are unsure. When your horse respects you and considers you as their leader, following your instructions or cues is their way of showing you that they understand, respect and will follow your great leadership. But, the big but is that this could change at any moment and it is your job to keep showing your horse that you are in fact the great leader they need you to be, and that falling short of this may lead to them testing the boundaries once again.
"I TRUST YOU"
Point four is a very straight forward and easy to read. Is your horse relaxed around you? As prey animals horses are always keeping an eye out for potential life threatening predators, and are ready to act at any given moment. After all this is life or death we are talking about. Even our pampered pooches that have very little to worry about still have this instinct coursing through their veins. In fact I would bet that most of you reading this have felt this exact instinct kick in while a rogue plastic bag plays havoc in your arena. When your horse relaxes to your touch, voice or simple presence, it really is a sure way to know that they love you. Knowing that you have his back and that there isn’t anything to fear if you are around is only built on trust and mutual respect, this is not given if you haven’t earned it.
"LETS GET PHYSICAL"
Our final, but by no means the last way your horse might show that they love you is, making physical contact with you. This particular point is rather controversial as some say it is in fact a form of affection while others say it’s a sign of disrespect so we will leave it in your capable minds to decide for yourself and your horse. Horses are social animals and will nuzzle, nibble and even lean on each other at times. They don’t have hands or the English dictionary like us and so they will use their bodies to communicate with each other and us. As a human we could use our hand and gently place it on a friends shoulder to offer them comfort or support, that exact same hand could be used to slap someone in order to show our discomfort or anger. The same theory applies for our horses. This is where your natural horsemanship can shine through and help you determine if in fact your horse is looking for some comfort and affection or they are impatiently pushing at you in order to get
something like a carrot or to his friends in the field.
Watching how your horse interacts with other horses that they both like and dislike is a good way to start understanding their behavior a bit better. Unlike humans they can’t tell us exactly how they feel, and so we owe it to them to take some time to really understand their behaviors. This might just come in handy the next time your horse tries to tell you something. Our points discussed above are in no way the only ways for your horse to show affection nor is it fact that this is exactly how they show love. We have simply given you some common ways based on behavior and instincts to help you read your horse. We hope that is article gave you a bit to think about and come to an educated conclusion on your relationship with your horse. Chances are if you spend a lot of time with your horse there will be a bond and bonds are built on mutual trust and respect.