Do horses love us?

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Do horses love us?

This is a discussion on Do horses love us? within the Horse Talk forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

View Poll Results: do horses love us or respect us?
respect us 13 68.42%
love us 0 0%
both 6 31.58%
Voters: 19. You may not vote on this poll

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  • 1 Post By Tayla101
  • 1 Post By AnrewPL
  • 4 Post By Tianimalz
  • 1 Post By BBBCrone

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    01-30-2013, 03:41 AM
Do horses love us?

I was reading an article and it was about "do horses love us?" it was quite a good read so I though I would ask HF users "Do you think horses love us or only respect us?"

I personally think its abit of both mixed together.

Here is the article, I read alot of this authors articles and there always refreshing and intersting;
Do horses love us
Chokolate likes this.
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    01-30-2013, 08:18 AM
Tayla, it depends on what one means by "love". Animal feelings are different from humans. And I also want to say that there is no "love" (feeling of comfort as I understand it, or whatever "love" is for the horses) without respect.

While my horses respect both - my mom and me, they are clearly happy to see me, and don't care much for her (even though she feeds them more often because I leave for work really early, and they get treats from both of us). With that being said I do think if they'd go to the different owner they'd probably forget me as time goes and would be as happy as long as they are well cared for.
    01-30-2013, 08:34 AM
Probably not. Emotions and feelings aren’t just amorphous things that float about in our minds, they are the result of various physiological, neurological and psychological processes acting upon and reacting to external stimuli.

So, horses can do all of that, and in very particular ways, indeed so to the extent that people use these things to train them. What they don’t have is the neurological complexity to support things that we regard as love, or any other highly developed emotion that humans can feel. They sure seem like they do sometimes, but the problem with that is humans have a highly developed ability to project their own stuff onto other people and animals. I have no doubt horses might get some sort of horse approximation of a nice feeling about a person; but love? That kind of stuff is hard enough to analyse cross-culturally among humans much less animals.
BBBCrone likes this.
    01-30-2013, 09:00 AM
Horses are not capable of thinking in abstract or romanticized ideas that a lot of humans take a lot of joy in using our brains for (and we should, it's a fascinating ability!). By love, horses develop a healthy respect for their "person" and out of that respect comes a dependence and reliance of their "person" (usually a partner, someone who interacts and works with the animal). They begin to look to that person for leadership and we provide them a safe state of mind.

Horses have affection, and love in their own sense. Watch horses in the field, how they treat their best buddies, most just stand quietly next to them, why? Because they feel safe and secure and "enjoy" the company of that buddy and just be a horse, most feel no need to do more. When a horse you love is content to walk up and just stand next to you; that is his special way of showing his affection and I for one never take it for granted.

But for this complex reason, I cannot answer your poll, I apologize.
    01-30-2013, 09:12 AM
Nice topic I think that some horses really develop strong feelings toward humans. In my region there is a nice cuote that talks about horses´feelings:

"I believe in forgiveness because if it was an empty word, no horse would of ever been ridden by men"
    01-30-2013, 09:22 AM
I agree with Andrew and Tianimalz. Love is a complex emotion we've defined as humans. And most of the time, we probably don't even have our own definition down right. I don't believe horses operate that same way.

I know they grieve/mourn, I know that when treated and trained right they enjoy being around their person. In rare instances I think you might find a handful of horses that possibly could have more advanced emotions. That isn't going to be the norm.

Just my take on it!
xJumperx likes this.
    01-30-2013, 09:32 AM
I believe both, but in a complex sort of way.
With the horses, you get respect before anything. If they feel they can walk all over you, and can outsmart you, they wont trust you to be their leader in the situation, because they know they can do a better job. I also believe that what trust is to us, is sort of like what love is to horses. Get respect, get trust, and yiu will have as close to love as you will get from a horse.

For example, Cowboy. He is actually the most affectionate horse I've met. He is very happy to see me, comes right up to me in the field, and is perfectly content to sit there with his head rested gently against my stomach. We also have other sorts of games, simply because he is just naturally very loving. But, before we could get to this point, I had to make sure he knew his role in the herd heirarchy. Once he was clear, I made sure he had every reason to trust me.

So there's my opinion on the topic, a very good topic indeed.

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