Originally Posted by Speed Racer
Horses experience all sorts of emotions, but not in a human sense.
When we presume horses (and other animals) have human emotions, we do both them and ourselves a disservice. In order to really know an animal you have to learn how they tick on their terms, not through a filter of humanity.
Like the OP, I don't think they can experience embarrassment because that would assume they were self aware, which they aren't.
Horses are capable of love and they do grieve the death of their companions, but it's not generally long term, whereas people can and do grieve for years.
Horses are herd animals, so the desire to form bonds is inherent in their nature. They're also selectively bred to bond with people, and the Arabian and TB are excellent examples of this. Some of them actually seem to prefer the company of humans over their own kind.
So yes, while I think horses experience a wide range of emotions, I don't think they feel the same things the same way humans do.
Yes, I fully agree. Every horse feels emotions but does not feel them the same as we do, although I swear they are more human then we realize, if not as human as we think.
I have experiencd several horses who show distinct emotions above all else. Jester is one, Rebel is another, Annie is the third. When they look at me I know exactly what they are feeling and what they need. If they want me to come to them, I can see it. If they want to play, I can see it. If they need a scratch, I can see it. If something is bothering them, I can see it. All of these things and more are a part of being an equestrian. If you can't feel when your horse needs something, then you aren't in tune with them and you need to establish that connection before you can truly be proud of yourself.
The horse expresses his emotions through body language. The ears, tail, head, legs, neck, body.....everything shows exactly what they want. Examples:
Jester pins his ears and snakes, he's trying to herd me away from something. He does it when there is a threat such as dogs, other people who I don't like, or other male horses. He treats me like his mare, but I am still the lead mare and still dominant although he protects me. Here he is experience Pride, Protection, Love, Jealousy, and Fear
of losing his girl to something.
Another is when Annie puts her head on my shoulder. She does it when she wants a scratch. I will extend my arms on both sides and scratch her hard and she will scratch my shoulder too, although not hard because she knows I'm not as thick-skinned as a horse is. Here she experiences Friendship, and Love. Companionship.
Emotions in the smallest of forms. Everything a horse does has emotion behind it. If there wasn't emotion, we wouldn't ahve the special bond between horse and rider that makes one being: The Equestrian.