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Horses are one of the most popular pets in the world and it is very clear to see when an owner loves their horse, through the affection that they give them. In reverse however, it may not always be obvious what your horse really thinks of you, or if they are showing you any affection at all. What are the main pointers to look out for that indicate your horse is showing you affection, and what tendencies do they have to suggest that they love you just as much as you love them? Carry on reading to find out all of the suggestions from researchers.
Do you ever find yourself wondering just how fond of you your horse really is? You’re not the only one. The answer to this question is commonly sought after. As you are well aware, horses cannot talk, nor do they act very much like people. This can make it hard at times to truly understand the relationship between you and your horse. But there are some very simple indicators that horses use to display their fondness. A horse will often try to behave with its owner in the same way as it does with other horses:
Does your horse try to carefully lean on you from time to time? Horses love to share any body contact they can get with their loved ones and you will often see them trying to lean into other horses when in the wild. They are just as likely to do this to people too; they want to feel tender contact with those that mean most to them.
A loving horse will use its nose to nuzzle you - this is one of the most vulnerable parts of their body and opening this up to you shows just how comfortable they are with your presence. They also tend to do this to their young foals as a sign of protection, therefore this is a hint that they will always be looking out for you.
Even something as simple as bringing its head to face you or towards you is a sign of complete affection. Horses will rarely give attention to something or someone they are not interested in. If your horse chooses to be close to you or give you full attention, it is a likely attempt to demonstrate just how infatuated they are with you.
How obedient is your horse? If a horse cares for you or respects you then they will do all they can to try and follow your orders. This does not mean that a disobedient horse is an unloving one, but it is a key way that they show their affection.
The answer to this question is not entirely straightforward as there are a number of factors that will contribute to a horse's attachment. Horses definitely have the ability to form unbreakable bonds with their owner, which is of course what any horse lover would want to achieve. How well this is captured is down to the commitment you have as a rider or owner. The riding, grooming and general contact that you have is vital in forming a stable bond with any horse. If you ride and groom your horse regularly, whilst making sure that your contact with them is kind and caring, it is likely that their attachment to you will be strong. Horses can experience jealousy or be extremely protective as well, if you adopt a new horse they may become jealous or if they feel that you are being threatened then they will act defensive.
This doesn’t mean that if you take on the ownership of a new horse they will kick up a fuss. Although the relationship they build with an owner is a very personal one, it is not definitive. They are able to build strong feelings with anyone who gives them the time and will not create a lasting attachment with previous owners.
Although most breeds of horse are extremely affectionate, they all have varying personality traits. Horses such as the Appaloosa or the Percheron are quiet and independent and although they are just as friendly as other horses, they are more than happy to work and obey in a calm manner, without too much emotion.
Conversely, horses like the Thoroughbred or the Arabian are far more inquisitive about the owner and will try their best to please the handler. They are good at sensing your emotion and will react to this to build a stronger bond.
These are marginal differences however and it is unlikely that you will find any horse who fails to show their owner some warm loving.
Many researchers suggest that you can work on some drills and simple exercises with your horse that can help to improve their responsiveness to you and their understanding of you and your demands. This is a great way to allow your horse time to build a good relationship with you, so that horse and rider can show each other the affection they deserve. TrailRiderMag have explained a list of great ways that can boost your connection.
In summary, horses are really affectionate animals. They want to please you and enjoy working hard to show you that they care. They can act as though they are attached but at the same time they won’t let this affect any ownership changes, which is ideal for everyone involved. And although some breeds are more affectionate than others, every horse is able to provide their owner with some tender, loving care!
For more information on how to build the best relationship with your horse as possible, check out our Ultimate Horse Guide.