A trusting horse is the dream of every rider. However, this dream does not always come true. Some animals remain very shy all their lives.
So the question arises whether horses are basically people-oriented or not.
In this article, we will tell you whether horses are animals that are turned towards people and how horses show affection towards people.
Are horses people-oriented?
Since horses are herd animals, it is in their nature to always strive for harmony.
If a horse has had no experience at all with people, it will react to human approaches with shyness and skepticism – after all, horses are flight animals.
A horse that has only had positive experiences with people in its life will approach them in an open and friendly manner and will gladly join a trustworthy human.
How people-oriented a horse actually is thus depends on its imprinting, but also on its basic character.
How do horses show their affection for humans?
Since every horse is individual, there is no clear sign by which you can determine that your horse really likes you. On the other hand, it is also possible that your horse likes you, although he does not show one or the other sign.
A very sure sign that your horse likes you is the “growl” when you come to him.
If the horse comes up to you while growling, you know 100% that you are a welcome guest with your horse.
Within the herd, horses will scratch each other in places they can’t easily reach themselves. The withers are the main place where horses like to be cuddled by their fellow horses.
If you have a good relationship with your horse and scratch it with your fingers or even with a brush at the withers, your horse may well show you his affection by also scratching your back with his teeth.
Sometimes, however, the signs are much more subtle, so that you do not even consciously perceive them as such.
If you fetch your horse from the pasture, for example, and he lets you halter him up and lead him away from the herd without any resistance, this is an enormous sign of trust. His instinct always advises him to stay with his herd, otherwise he will be in danger.
If your horse joins you voluntarily, you can be sure that you are doing everything right.
You can also take your horse to the fenced riding arena or to the indoor arena and loosen the rope from the halter or take the halter off completely.
Then you can see what happens when your horse has the opportunity to walk away from you. If your horse stays with you or comes back after a short time and seeks your proximity, this is a real proof of love.
If you run off and your horse comes along with you as a matter of course, even though he might decide otherwise, this is also a sign of trust.
Does every horse build a bond with its human?
Yes, basically every horse builds a bond with its human, as long as it is kept in a species-appropriate manner and treated well.
However, there are always candidates that bond faster and those that prefer their herd to humans.
The decisive factor is the character of the horse, but also the frequency with which you visit your horse in the stable and keep it company.
If you visit the horse only once a week, it will not build the same bond as if you visit and spend time with your horse every day.
Also, if you ignore the horse’s needs and ask things of him that do not bring him pleasure and perhaps even pain, your horse will stay away from you if possible.
A clear sign that something is wrong in the relationship between you and your horse::
Your horse does not want to be captured by you.
It breaks away
Climbs or otherwise rebels against you.
You should immediately take countermeasures by working with your horse on your bond – never use force against your horse, you will make the problem worse!
How exactly you can work on the bond between you and your horse so that he enjoys spending time with you and shows you his affection in the future, you will learn in the next section.
How to improve the relationship between you and your horse
If you want your horse to enjoy spending time with you, make him feel comfortable in your presence and associate your presence with something positive.
For example, you can temporarily forgo riding and instead go for a walk with your horse, do ground work or just sit with him in the box or in the pasture. Without actively demanding anything from him.
Circus tricks with positive reinforcement also provide fun and motivation.
Make sure that your horse’s daily routine is varied so that he doesn’t get bored, but isn’t overwhelmed either.
Always include breaks in your training where your horse has time to process what it has learned. Rub or massage your horse during this time, don’t spare praise and appreciation and be honest about every little progress.
Try different things and pay attention to your horse’s reaction.
Your horse will enjoy some tasks more than others. You may find that your horse has hidden talents, and you may find new things to do that you both enjoy.
Improve the communication between you by doing more ground work and in the advanced stage also free work with your horse. This way you will build an invisible bond and learn to understand your horse better.
Also, give your horse a say and accept a ‘no’ from your horse if he vehemently resists a task he otherwise enjoys performing.
We humans are not the same every day either and sometimes have back pain, etc.
You can’t know if your horse is in pain right now and therefore doesn’t want to or can’t perform a certain exercise.
If your horse refuses a certain exercise not only on one day, but in general, then have an osteopath, physiotherapist or even a veterinarian come to find out the cause.
My name is Mark and the senior editor
I take great pride in being the best possible author and giving you the knowledge that i have on all different types of animals!
I have spent a lifetime learning about pets and animals, and have worked in the pet and vet industry for over 20 years now!
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