What emotions do horses experience? discussion
   

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What emotions do horses experience? discussion

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  • What emotion do horses feel love
  • Do horses feel love

 
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    05-14-2010, 03:07 PM
  #1
Showing
Question What emotions do horses experience? discussion

What emotions do you guys think horses feel? Feel free to edit or add to/subtract from anything I post.

Happiness, contentedness, excitement, security, dissapointment, threatened, confusion, longing, boredom. These are pretty simple; I believe horses experience all of them.

Loss. When two horses are best buds and one dies, you can definitely tell a change in the horse's habits and attitude.

Embarrassment. I do NOT think horses understand embarrassment. This is a human emotion that people so often label horses with, but incorrectly.

Do horses love? Do they feel love towards other horses, people, barn animals? I don't know about this one. I feel they create bonds upon convenience, but soometimes there's no reason based on the ideals of convenience that would make a horse feel obligated to forge a bond with a barn cat, or with the three year old next door.

What are your thoughts on this? Just curious
     
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    05-14-2010, 03:24 PM
  #2
Yearling
I personally believe that they experience all of those emotions, including love.
     
    05-14-2010, 03:46 PM
  #3
Yearling
Mine certainly experiences jealousy and posessiveness. Heaven forbid I should say hello to another horse first! Oh, the nasty faces he makes! Certainly fear and pride too...
     
    05-14-2010, 03:53 PM
  #4
Showing
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.
     
    05-14-2010, 03:56 PM
  #5
Started
I think they experience all the emotions human beings (and any other animal) can feel. They're as unique and diverse as people are. I know for a fact that horses can love just as much as people can. They can also experience grief, which they couldn't feel if they didn't experience love. If a companion is sold or dies, horses will pine over it for days, weeks, or even months. I've seen animals (not just horses) become depressed and sometimes stop eating, mope around, and just be very disinterested in everything because they miss their buddy. I think horses can sometimes feel embarrassed, but maybe that's just how I interpret a particular behavior or facial expression. I don't believe that horses think in words, although they do listen for words they recognize when they hear people talking. I think their thoughts consist more of ideas and pictures. But you never know. That's just what I've surmised from my observations. I don't think anyone can ever know for sure how horses think.
     
    05-14-2010, 11:23 PM
  #6
Banned
I don't think that horses love in a human sense.....love it just a chemical reaction, a firing of certain neurons just the same as any other emotion. It's obvious that they prefer certain horses, otherwise all horses would get along, putting aside the pecking order.
     
    05-15-2010, 12:34 AM
  #7
Yearling
Def agree that horses experiencel loss. One of my geldings had a best friend who was a Warmblood (almost 17 hands. ) My 15 hand gelding really looked up to this horse. They were always together ...grazing , playing etc...Then the WB went to a new home and my little gelding was depressed. He just stood in the field with his head down and wouldnt come in to the barn. He acted like this for almost two weeks! He has sinced found new pasture buddies to run around with but I found it interesting how he really seemed to be missing his old buddy. Horses never cease to amaze me, we learn so much from them.
     
    05-15-2010, 07:30 PM
  #8
Foal
One of my horses sulks , he is only young but so funny. Horses are very guick to judge what mood we are in.
     
    05-17-2010, 11:38 AM
  #9
Trained
Quote:
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.
     
    05-17-2010, 03:20 PM
  #10
Yearling
Empathy. Horses show empathy, which is an emotion that some people don't even have.
     

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