Do Horses Feel "love?"
 
 

       The Horse Forum > Keeping and Caring for Horses > Horse Talk

Do Horses Feel "love?"

This is a discussion on Do Horses Feel "love?" within the Horse Talk forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • Do horses feel for man
  • Horses and affection

Like Tree53Likes

 
LinkBack Thread Tools
    07-14-2012, 04:02 AM
  #1
Foal
Question Do Horses Feel "love?"

I've seen a lot of posts mention horses and their capacity (or lack thereof)for affection and love. Some people say horses don't feel love like people do, others haven't challenged that idea/philosophy... So I thought that I'd start a discussion about it.

As far back as the ancient Greeks, human love was categorized into 4 different types.

Storge - Natural affection, like that between parents and offspring and siblings.
Eros - Romantic "in Love' feelings and intimate love.
Agape - Unconditional, God like love.
AND Philia - A love between friends. Aristotle defined it as a strong bond existing between beings who share common interests and common activities. It is thought profound because it is the only form of love that is freely chosen.

I know that my big boy has affection for me, and that we're friends. We enjoy common activities and common interests. We also share a deep, abiding bond. So... I think that qualifies as "Philia," which is a form of "love." So to me, yes, I think horses can "love." What do you guys think?
Cinder and englishaqh like this.
     
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
    07-14-2012, 04:12 AM
  #2
Started
Funny, I've always found love an interesting area. Real love for me is based on trust and respect with a mutual sense of enjoyment, protectiveness and affection thrown in. A strong equine partnership has all these things, as does a strong friendship and a good marriage. So if that's love then yes, I think you can love and be loved by your horse - but it's a tricky term because so many people don't seem to have a clue as to what constitutes love between humans. Parents spoil their children rather than give them the firm, fair leadership and protective love they need; people throw the word 'love' around when meaning anything from attraction to emotional dependency (or both if its Twilight! ). So when people go 'but I want my horse to love me!' they often don't know what love is in the first place.
Posted via Mobile Device
     
    07-14-2012, 04:16 AM
  #3
Trained
I always felt horses liked us because we feed them, take care of them, etc., etc. Felt this way for decades, never thought a horse could feel love. However, one of my horses is making me think otherwise. He has attacked a deer to protect me, that was gallant and looked so gallant when he did that. But one single action made me change my mind about his capacity to show love or "love me". Last year I went down to the pasture to let the horses up to the paddocks, he & his dad (my other horse), go trotting by to get their goodies in the paddock, all of a sudden, Indy stops and looks back at me with such a look of love in his expression. He waits for me to walk up the hill a bit towards him and he reached out with his long neck & pulled me into his crook of his neck and hugged me, for no reason. Then he trots off with his old man to the food. I am convinced that horse loves me.
     
    07-14-2012, 04:26 AM
  #4
Foal
AWESOME responses and stories! My gelding put himself between me and a bear. No, I'm not kidding. It was an adolescent bear crossing our path and Khaiyaann jumped between us with his head held so high and strong. And, like you, I have seen love in his sweet, soft eyes, and have been nuzzled and hugged for no reason.
THANKS for sharing!
Cinder and Domnopalus like this.
     
    07-14-2012, 04:28 AM
  #5
Yearling
I do believe that horses can love. Not in the mooshy, gooy, you're my world way. They show their love when we need most to see it. For some, it's being relaxed and calm when we're in a bad spot, others whinny as we pull in the drive after a long, stressful day. Yes, I'm sure they love the food but a good horse appreciates what he's given. They know who is the caretaker and who is the friend. They know who will end their suffering in the end.

You can try to talk about that science hogwash, but it isn't going to change my opinion.
MajorSealstheDeal likes this.
     
    07-14-2012, 04:54 AM
  #6
Foal
Do you mean with humans, or other horses? I think they (and most other animals) definitely feel love for other horses...just watch the way mother animals selflessly protect and nurture their babies. I don't see any reason they wouldn't feel the exact feelings us human parents feel. I also think horses feel the love of friendship between each other, with obvious bonds between some horses and dislike between others.
I wouldn't say any of my horses "love" me in the same way, I'm sure they like me ok (most of the time!). Then again, I don't "love" them the way I love other people like my kids and family.
Posted via Mobile Device
     
    07-14-2012, 10:46 AM
  #7
Showing
All animals are capable of strong emotional bonds. Where people get into trouble is anthropomorphizing that emotional response. Horses do NOT think, act, or love like humans. If you believe they do, then you're doing a grave disservice to the animal.

In order for us to truly bond with another creature, we have to understand them within the context of their instincts and how they view the world.

Love is universal, but it's not all the same, especially when we're talking about affection between different species.
     
    07-14-2012, 11:13 AM
  #8
Banned
Yes - I believe they do. But I don't believe it's anywhere near the level of the human understanding of it. (Heck to be honest, I don't think we understand it ourselves. When asked to define that word, you'll get a different answer from anyone you ask.) *Some* may show us on a deeper level, like waresbear's horse displayed. But as a general rule they "love" like any other species of animal. We have to be careful we don't misinterpret it to be anything other than what it is. And that will vary from horse to horse.

I know for a FACT they mourn. I've experienced that first hand and it's heart wrenching and will bring tears to my eyes thinking of that particular memory of mine. That one incident is all I needed to know that yes, they do love. Just be careful with the term :)
Speed Racer likes this.
     
    07-14-2012, 02:07 PM
  #9
Trained
They certainly feel affection for some horses and some humans. When we sold Lilly in Dec 2010, Mia spent days standing at the edge of the corral where she could see the direction Lilly left. And she spent a lot of time calling softly while looking that way.

After a week, she stopped. I have no idea what would happen if she met Lilly again, but if we build a house on our empty lot, we'll find out - it is only 500 feet from Lilly's corral.

Toward humans? Affection, yes. Love? That depends on how deep the connection has to be before you call it love. When I proposed to my wife 6 weeks after our first date, I said I loved her. 26 years later, maybe I do. A lot of good times and a lot of very hard times over the last 26 years has changed what I call 'love'.

Horses have a very different way of thinking than humans do. On the whole, I think it is wrong to use words for human relations and apply it to a relationship with a horse.

I have 3 horses. The 2 geldings trust me to feed them and be fair in my treatment of them. They 'like' me, but that like would be better described as 'they are content to be around me'. The mare & I have spent a lot more time together, and have had enough 'shared misery' to bond a bit more. She will seek me out for comfort when things are bad, and acts affectionate. She sometimes sticks her head under my arm after a ride, closes her eyes and listens as I talk into her ear. When riding, we are both constantly aware of each other, in a way that is very different from any other horse I've ridden. She is by far the most human-oriented horse I've met.

But if I sold her to a good owner, would she stand at the edge of the corral and call out to me for a week? Not one chance in one thousand. We're friends, but she isn't a human and she isn't a dog and I don't think I am fair to her to apply human ideas to her actions.
EmilyJoy likes this.
     
    07-14-2012, 02:17 PM
  #10
Cat
Green Broke
I think horses and many other animals can and do create bonds which include affection, trust and loyalty.

What they lack is the awareness and the ability to process the meaning of that bond and invest more into it. We humans can invest more into our bond which creates love. We choose to invest more into this one, or not so much into that one, etc. Animals just go with the flow and follow pure instinct, not reason. I think these differences are what separates their bond from what we understand as love.
     

Quick Reply
Please help keep the Horse Forum enjoyable by reporting rude posts.
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.


Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Horses that love to run - how much is "too" much? Wallaby Horse Health 11 03-08-2012 09:32 PM
To the old thread: "Why do we love horses?" Kelly22790 Horse Stories and Poems 0 10-27-2011 12:33 PM
Competition - "Why you love horses" crackrider Horse Talk 4 11-14-2007 03:43 AM



All times are GMT -4. The time now is 09:39 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0