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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

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    09-03-2013, 08:10 PM
I've seen my mini donk be naughty, be excited, pout & be scared. IMO, yes, they have emotions but they do not think like we do. If I don't make it to the barn for a night, I highly dought he wonder's if I'm mad at him
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    09-04-2013, 02:34 AM
Originally Posted by Chevaux    
I suspect (but can't say for sure) horses don't stand around contemplating possible revisions to current macro economic theories...
Neither do 99.9% of humans OTOH, few horses are all that into watching TV sports, which may say something about relative intelligence levels...
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    09-04-2013, 10:24 AM
I'd say they have emotions of happy, mad and whatnot.

One of my favorite memories was when one of my kids' horses met up with a former pasture mate three years later in another state. The two mares whinnied and nickered and pranced around. They sure appeared to be happy.

On the other end of the emotion spectrum, a good friend had a mare who never "liked" a certain gelding. Friend sold the gelding to a neighbor in the fall, and the next spring the horses were both at a branding. The mare got loose, went to where the gelding was tied and proceeded to kick the heck out of him before the owners broke it up. She darn sure appeared to dislike him, and hold a grudge!

But, when it comes to horses doing their job, just like with us, we may not be happy, happy to have to do a task, but just have to. So, my acknowledgment that horses have emotions doesn't interfere with training or work.
    09-04-2013, 10:59 AM
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They aren't the same as humans but if a horse can show hate and anger - which they certainly can then they must be able to feel the opposite and be capable of at least liking someone. A lot of their emotion is based on trust - I've seen plenty of horses that would only be caught by their owners when I worked on a big livery (boarding yard).
A mare I owned when I met my first husband was the sweetest thing but she wouldn't have anything to do with him and tried to attack him more than once - I should have listened to her!!!
Our clyde x gets terribly jealous when another horse is getting a lot of attention in the barn
I've seen horses that definitely look happy and contented, sulky, miserable, bored etc so I'm sure something goes on inside their little minds
    09-04-2013, 11:19 AM
I have never doubted that my boy is feeling different emotions all the time- on top of his very obvious body language he has a face (especially eyes) that show his thoughts well. One experience in particular really humbled me though.

A couple winters after getting Max I had him at a barn along with my two friends and their older tb mare. She ended up slipping and falling in the pasture just the right way to fracture her leg past the point of fixing. The vet came out to put her down. The whole thing was a big sad ordeal. The barn was set up where the different pastures surrounded a courtyard area where the procedure took place.

Every single horse was standing at the fence quietly watching. They all looked sad and solemn. After it all happened, I went over to just be with Max and think of how lucky I was to have him, he walked to me and leaned his forehead against my stomach and stayed there a few minutes, then walked back to his herd to resume his watchful post with the others. I was in shock. Only time he's ever done that.

Barn owner said the horses all stayed at the fence that entire night.

They definitely know something. Smart creatures.
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