In the wild, as well as in domestic care, horses will show affection to one another by sharing breath with one another. Horses will put their noses together and then share the air. This tendency extends to horses showing love to their owners as well.
Coming to You
If a horse comes to you when you walk out into the pasture, not because they expect food but because they recognize you, then they are showing affection. If a horse picks up its head from eating to come over to where you are, your horse has just shown that you are more important than their food!
Your horse's nostrils are soft, round, and relaxed and breathing is even on both sides. Your horse's tail will swing freely, evenly, and loosely when happy and relaxed. A sign of deep relaxation is that your horse's jaw may hang loosely with a soft eye. Your horse may rear up with its front leg or paw at the ground.
"Horses show affection and relationship towards one another by hanging out with the horses they like. Even pasture horses tend to break off into small herds of horses that get along well together and those who don't," Carmella says.
How Do Horses Like to be Touched? Horses prefer to be rubbed and stroked over being tickled or slapped, and they often don't want rubbing on sensitive areas like the flank, girth, belly, nose, ears, and legs. Several studies observed horses acting calmer during rubbing or stroking compared to patting.
The nose, lips, mouth, and possibly the ears are the most sensitive areas to touch. Although hooves do not respond to touching, various parts of the hoof are able to feel touch. Understanding the degree to which horses are sensitive to touch can be valuable to the trainer.
Horses don't think like we do—especially when it comes to bonding and showing affection. Human affection behaviors—such as kissing on the lips—don't hold the same meaning for horses. We humans are drawn to the head of the horse, especially that sweet, velvety-soft muzzle.
Horses and humans may develop a connection or trust through contact or riding or by way of grooming / care. They may show signs of recognition when you or other humans approach them.
Have you ever been nudged by a horse? Horses use body language to communicate with humans (and other horses), and one of the ways they do this is through touch. Nudging is a way for a horse to get your attention, which can signify affection or impatience.
Horses aren't just for humans to show one another affection. Did you know that horses hug too? Just make sure that you're on the horse's good side before hugging them, and remember that if they start licking you or breathing on you it is often because they appreciate your company.
Not only can horses understand the various moods and facial expressions of humans, but they can also communicate their own emotions. While they often talk with their ears and eyes, they show feelings through snorts and whinnies. In general, snorts mean horses are happy or feel at peace.
You might think it strange or scary but the horse may be trying to say hello to you. When two horses meet each other for the first time, they usually stand nose to nose breathing into each others nostrils. Some (not all) horses try to do this with humans.
Horses, as well as cats, rhinos and hedgehogs have this as a response to help their sense of smell. Raising their upper lip increases the flow of air through their nostrils which widens the scent openings behind their teeth on the upper palette.
Some report you should use soft eye contact when dealing with horses, meaning you can look at the horse but also keep a wide field of view. Other trainers indicate hard contact is preferred to establish your dominance over the herd.
Horses can read human facial expressions and remember a person's mood, a study has shown. The animals respond more positively to people they have previously seen smiling and are wary of those they recall frowning, scientists found.
Yes, they do. Very much so. And they have long memories for both the humans they've bonded with in a positive way and the ones who have damaged or abused or frightened them. The depth of the connection depends greatly on several things, not the least of which is the amount of time the human spends with the animal.
Some horses enjoy having their heads and ears rubbed. Horses often groom each other on the whither, so this would be a good place to try too.
2) Leaning on you
Sharing body contact is one of the main ways horses share affection. Since horses don't have hands to hold or arms to give hugs, gentle leans and even “neck hugs” express their love.
Prey animals identify predators by smell and sight—including their view of eye position. One look at a human face, and the evolutionary equine brain knows we are predators. Because horses see us as natural predators, human eye contact has a warning effect.
Of 69 horse owners, 79 per cent of them reported that horses felt jealous, although the specific contexts in which this jealousy occurred, or whether a horse or human relationship was being threatened, was not explored.
Apples and carrots are traditional favorites. You can safely offer your horse raisins, grapes, bananas, strawberries, cantaloupe or other melons, celery, pumpkin, and snow peas. Most horses will chew these treats before swallowing, but horses that gulp large pieces of a fruit or vegetable have a risk of choking.
One of the more popular Internet horse searches begs the simple, sweet question, “Can a horse love you?” The short answer, of course, is a resounding yes. We know that animal love is a different emotion than that of human love.
The quivering lip is a sign that he's comfortable and relaxed. It's just the same as a human mouth falling open when they're asleep. And just as a human will quickly close theirs when they wake up and realise, a horse will too.