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Horse emotions

This is a discussion on Horse emotions within the Horse Talk forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • Horse emotions
  • Emotions perfect ride with my horse

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    09-03-2013, 05:56 AM
  #11
Started
I think they do have emotions. Maybe some showcase them more than others, but they're there. My big guy loved my pony. They hung out everyday, slept against the sides of their stalls so they were near each other at night. They were perfect every trail ride because they felt so comfortable with each other. Then the pony got sick and died. My big guy hasn't been the same since. He doesn't like trail rides. He hates the other horse we have(the other horse use to beat up on the pony when the three of them were out together). And every so often, when I *for some reason* feel like he's sad (when I feel it, I talk to him about how I miss the pony too) and go to put him in his stall, he walks in to the pony's old stall and sniffs around for a while. It doesn't happen very often. But I find it kind of therapeutic. To know he misses him too.
Dozer, the big guy, is very good at picking up emotions too. If I'm riding him and he decides to be stubborn and not do what I asked, he "all of a sudden" figures out what I want right when I start to get really fed up... And the one time I got extremely frustrated with him, jumped off, and ended up plopping down in the middle of the arena to cry (give me a break people. The great little pony had died a month ago and Dozer's training was nothing like it had been when the pony was around.) he came and rested his nose on my shoulder and back, kind of telling me, I'm sorry. Let me try again.
They are great at reading people's knowledge too. My pony always knew who to listen to and who to test. Now that Doz has taken over the "beginner horse" position, he's learning who he has to listen to and who he can get off by trotting...
That's what I think at least.
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    09-03-2013, 06:09 AM
  #12
Green Broke
I think they do feel them, are they the same as we feel? Possibly so.

For instance:

A horse was put in the dry lot with Baby Huey last summer. I was gone during that, and when came back it was maybe day or so later? He is a fairly happy go lucky horse, so when he was standing in corner with lip pooched out, I asked trainer what was going on.

He told me that when horse was put in, that the two got in a "I'm badder than you" tussle, and both went to kicking and went down. Baby Huey got worse end of it, and had been pouting in corner ever since.

Some of them, you can feel what they are thinking, and those emotions are the same as we have.

That said, they still operate as horse not human.
     
    09-03-2013, 11:15 AM
  #13
Weanling
I think the problem with anthropomorphism is that it interferes with training/interacting with horses for many owners. "I don't want to make my horse mad/sad/hate me". I absolutely feel horses have emotions, but they are not people and don't have (IMO) the ability of abstract thought.
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    09-03-2013, 12:56 PM
  #14
Yearling
I believe they have emotions and just like humans some show it more than others.
     
    09-03-2013, 01:12 PM
  #15
Trained
Horses LIVE on their emotions. You can tell when they are happy--tail up, head held high, ears forward and interested, happy bucks and galloping when at liberty with their herd, AND head down and obedient on the ground when they enjoy their work with their owner/rider/driver.
They also grieve, get depressed, become listless, become frightened--emotions out the window, brain thrown away!!
We work VERY HARD to train our horses to listen to OUR brains and use THEIR brains, and NOT operate on emotions alone.
So...yes, horses are emotional. =D
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    09-03-2013, 01:20 PM
  #16
Showing
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bellasmom    
I think the problem with anthropomorphism is that it interferes with training/interacting with horses for many owners. "I don't want to make my horse mad/sad/hate me".
This!!! This is why everyone gets so up in arms about anthropomorphizing ANY animal's emotions. If you really look at it when we get after people about it, it's always when someone says "I don't want to/can't discipline my horse because I don't want to hurt their feelings or because I don't want them mad at me." That's a dangerous way of thinking.
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    09-03-2013, 03:08 PM
  #17
Started
I think they do , Not the same as humans but in a way we can relate.

And OP BTW nice to see a fellow Nebraskan here.
     
    09-03-2013, 04:04 PM
  #18
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by DraftyAiresMum    
This!!! This is why everyone gets so up in arms about anthropomorphizing ANY animal's emotions. If you really look at it when we get after people about it, it's always when someone says "I don't want to/can't discipline my horse because I don't want to hurt their feelings or because I don't want them mad at me." That's a dangerous way of thinking.
Except you could say exactly the same thing about how all too many parents treat their children.

As for abstract thought, humans in general may have the capacity, but what fraction of them actually use it in their day-to-day lives?

Nor am I all that certain that horses don't have the capacity for such thought. Certainly they don't think exactly like humans (but then, not all humans think alike), but I have to say that my horse acts as though she does, and I've learned that it's a good idea for me to pay attention.

After all, if horses didn't have thoughts and emotions at some level, riding one would be no different than riding a motorcycle, now would it?
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    09-03-2013, 04:33 PM
  #19
Trained
And...we need to treat our horses like good parents. We don't have to explain everything to them. I spoil my great 15yo mare. I tie up my two 7yo geldings in my "inner sanctum" (the fenced in area in front and to the side of my barn,) but often let her wander and graze. The boys know that she gets special treatment but that I am in charge of this.
She was sad the other night when I didn't let her do this, but I have some volunteer flint corn that is tassling and she'd just eat all 8 plants, so it was a "no."
Just like any healthy relationship, she hung around the gate, then left to graze--no hard feelings.
Yes, we both operate on emotions. But we have to choose to keep our emotions in check.
She did get the overripe pear when I harvested before the boys knew they were there.
     
    09-03-2013, 05:09 PM
  #20
Green Broke
I'll go one step further and say that I think all sentient creatures have emotions/feelings (human, horse, mouse, etc.) - it's part of having a thinking brain and more or less the same chemical make up. Logic, I believe, differs amongst the species and subsequently what they identify as necessary in their lives which in turn reflects in the way they connect to their emotions. I suspect (but can't say for sure) horses don't stand around contemplating possible revisions to current macro economic theories but they do try to come up with plans that get them out of a stall or out of work or into a bag of oats.
     

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