Can horses feel love for one another? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 12-22-2012, 10:45 AM Thread Starter
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Can horses feel love for one another?

With the passing of our beloved mare that we had for 7 years and Ollie's (her "best friend") behavior, I've been thinking. Can horses feel love for one another? On October 2005, we bought "Atwee" (Ashlee was her real name, but we never actually called her that...). When we bought her, we owned a boarding stable. Soon after we closed down our boarding stable. We then had 3 of our own horses, Atwee, Ollie, and Naughtilus. On December 18, 2007, Naughtilus passed. This means that Atwee and Ollie were living alone for 5 years and developed a very strong bond. The first night that Atwee passed, Ollie refused to eat and was whinnying for her all night. The next day he ate but was depressed. Ollie always ate first (seniority!) and Atwee had a big "lead mare" mentality and always bossed him around (Ollie is in his 30's and we say he has "horsey alzheimers"). He got very dependant on Atwee and they were best friends for 5 years. Today when I was watching him out in the pasture, he was sniffing around Atwee's grave, then layed down and sprawled out (we call it playing dead as he has scared us many times!!). Made me cry...I think that horses CAN feel love for one another...What do you think?
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post #2 of 16 Old 12-22-2012, 11:02 AM
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They definitely morn, many animals do.
Love the same way we do, probably not, but they do feel attachment and need to be with others of their own kind.
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post #3 of 16 Old 12-22-2012, 11:05 AM
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Horses can and do develop strong bonds to other creatures, be it another horse, goat, human, or cow. It is not "love" as it is with humans, but it is similar. Many horses will get heartsick over the loss of their friend. When the mini my mare was stabled with for several years was sold, she was depressed for days. They move on. It's just something to monitor; feed electrolytes to make sure they drink, keep them eating however you can, and let your horse "grieve."

As an aside, I do not think my mare gets nostalgic over the mini who left. I don't believe horses will hang out and reminisce about old times a few years later. They are confused and lonely at first, but once that goes away, I don't think the feeling stick around.
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post #4 of 16 Old 12-22-2012, 12:23 PM
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Depends on how you define "Love". I don't know if their brains produce the chemicals that scientifically define "love", but they do form strong bonds with other horses. They become possessive of horses. They learn to depend on one another for their social needs. They understand and trust one another, sometimes more than others. They form strong attachments.
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post #5 of 16 Old 12-22-2012, 12:28 PM
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I think that horses can feel love for one another. They can love each other, and us humans too. In my opinion, horses are just like us, only they look different and think different. I had a horse named Amber. Every time Brisco and Golley came over to us, Amber would chase them off and come walking back to me like nothing ever happened. I do believe they can love well, anything.

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post #6 of 16 Old 12-22-2012, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by amberly View Post
I think that horses can feel love for one another. They can love each other, and us humans too. In my opinion, horses are just like us, only they look different and think different.
That sort of thinking gets a lot of people hurt.

Horses do not "love" as we do, they do not think in the same abstract or romantic ways we do, it just is not part of how they are built.

But they love in their own ways, to a horse to love someone is to depend on someone. Maybe that person brings them food? Maybe leads them to greener pastures, maybe makes the pain go away, or the best of all maybe they make them feel safe. A horse that feels comfortable with someone, in his own sense "loves" that person (or horse). They do get depressed, upset and lonely when they're "loved one" dies or moves away, but like a above poster said they eventually get over it and go back to their old selves. Just be there for your guy, make him feel comfortable and make sure he is eating and drinking okay.

I'm sorry for the loss of your mare
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post #7 of 16 Old 12-22-2012, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Tianimalz View Post

Horses do not "love" as we do, they do not think in the same abstract or romantic ways we do, it just is not part of how they are built.

I'm not trying to be rude in any way, but When I said "they look and think different, what you said here is exactly what I was saying before. lol

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post #8 of 16 Old 12-22-2012, 12:49 PM
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Yes I think they do
I have 2 Chicken Soup for the Horse Lovers Soul
and there are many heart warming stories in there
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post #9 of 16 Old 12-22-2012, 12:57 PM
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I think any animal that tends to live in a pack or herd (including humans) feel a desire for companionship. My sister in law had 2 dogs who had grown up together, and one of them was killed by a car. Her other puppy was very depressed and obviously lonely. They felt bad about it seeming like they were "replacing" their lost dog, but felt that the other one needed a companion. They rescued a puppy and they became friends instantly.

Especially with horses being herd animals, it makes sense that they would not only feel lonely and confused without their friend of so many years, but being alone is probably distressing as well.

I'm sorry for your loss, and I wish you and your horse the best.
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post #10 of 16 Old 12-22-2012, 01:22 PM
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I believe they do have feelings for one another I lost one of my stallions in June and his harem grieved, they all became depressed and picked at their food for days after his death, one mare will go stand at the fence near where I buried him, it hit her the worse, she dropped weight, didn't want anything to do with the rest of the herd she only interacted with her foal. She became really nasty toward people for a while. She's coming around now but still is not the same horse as before his death.
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