Who says a horse can't REALLY love you?
There have been several posts on here about a horse's capability to love it's human. for the most part, I believed that a horse doesn't really love you the way you want them too (the way a good dog will love you). I thought they either respected you or they didn't and that was the foundation of your relationship. I still believe respect is the foundation, but after today, I know they are capable of love.
I just had a really neat experience this afternoon. I was invited to visit my horse I sold last June for the first time. He always was a gentle horse on the ground and pleasant to be around. When I went to see him today, I groomed him and watched him run barrels for a while, but when I went to leave, he stood at the gate to the arena and tried so hard to open it. I walked back and patted his face and talked to him. He looked so deflated, my heart broke. His rider had to turn him around and get him back to the center of the arena. He stood and watched me leave:cry:.
Some day, that horse will be in my barn again. He'll live a life of leisure and be my pasture puff. I know what I saw today, and I am pretty sure it was love. If it wasn't, don't anyone burst my bubble....
I definitely believe horses are capable of love. What a sweet/sad story! Hopefully you can bring him home soon! :)
Even if horses don't love us back like a child or maybe even a dog, WE can love them with a very satisfying intensity, and the let us.
Love is very anthropomorphic in regards to horses. However, I believe that a horse can remember the feeling that it may have had with a previous owner. Trust, respect, and a confident leader. Above all else, horses want to feel safe. If you afforded them that at one point, I believe they remember. My old gelding still nickers at me to this day. I don't feed him, i don't speak to him, i don't go around him. But when i pass through the breezeway, he always nickers. He's one that i would like to buy back, and retire in my back yard someday. :)
I don't believe they feel love, but I do believe that they feel connections with people.
I haven't been able to see my horse much lately as my life has been crazy. He's boarded and well cared for.
I went down to him the other day, and he heard my car and his head popped up from grazing. When I got out of the car, walked to his gate and called him - he came cantering to me, doing a sliding stop with his face touching my extended hands.
It's fairly rare that I feed my horse, I only do it to help out the BO if I am there at feeding time. So he wasn't looking for his feed. He was just as happy to see me, as I was him.
What is love? What is connection? I've had a hard time defining "love" within the realm of human relationships, never mind horses. I think love is largely a product of trust and respect, so it makes sense that the bond between horse and human could be considered a kind of "love", even if the two do not experience it in exactly the same way (people don't either).
I love my horse according to my own abstract definition of the word. I do think she loves me too, even if it's in a primitive sense. One thing I know for certain, whatever emotions a horse has, they're always straightforward! That's probably why I sometimes prefer them to people...
It was pretty cool that he remembered me. Obviously when he was mine, I did something right for him to be so excited. It's cool to see him in his new life running barrels. I rode him English and now he's a little barrel racin Arabian. It's good for him because he likes to go fast and get fired up and I like to go slow...lol
I donated my first horse to a horse camp I used to attend as a kid. I'd go up and visit him every summer and he was always happy and healthy. I remember the first time I visited him. I showed up on a Friday, which was the day the campers rode infront of their parents to show them what they learned that week. I was mixed into a crowd with a bunch of unbrella-toting parents and he spotted me in an instant. Much to his tiny rider's dismay, when it was his turn to walk the fence to show his rider's parents what they learned, he stopped right infront of me and wouldn't budge, with his head over the rail and reaching for me.
I had to back up and hide behind someone so he would walk the rest of the arena for his rider. It was very cute.
Regarding Kelli's post....
Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhh! I would have been a puddle.
I say that if a LION (Christian the Lion, to be specific) can run up to his previous humans and show obvious affection for them, after a year of being left in the wild, why can't a horse love their owner?
Security, food, warmth/shelter... That's what you give a horse. And sometimes, if they don't have a pasture mate, company. I have a horse that was SO attached to dog that the family owned, because he didn't have a pasture mate. The dog returned the affection. When the dog got hit by a car, they brought it in the house to tend to it. It wanted to go outside with the horse (it'd go to the horse's shed). Finally, they compromised and brought the horse into the garage. The horse stayed with the dog until it healed, and both were calm during the ordeal.
I think that animal's can show us that they have feelings if we let them. Just look at those videos of that elephant painting other elephants. Elephants holding flowers, mother elephants walking with their babies, etc. Not everything an animal does has to be based on instinct.
While I don't want to get off topic on religious views, I truly believed that we evolved from primates. (Whether or not that was caused by an outside force is YOUR choice to believe or not believe.) In that case, we were once animals too. And we can love, so why can't they?
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