Having a bad day? Chances are your horse knows.

Horse Feelings

A recent university study indicates that horses can indeed understand basic human emotions. A total of 28 horses were shown happy and angry human faces, and the horse reactions – both physical and physiological – were studied. As it turns out, those horses could differentiate between the faces and were highly responsive to the angry faces.

That’s because those researchers discovered that the horse’s heart rate increased when they looked at the angry faces. However, horses also viewed the photos mostly using their left eyes. As we know, each hemisphere of the brain processes information differently; usually the right hemisphere processes threatening situations, so the study will no doubt demand further research.

Understanding all of this is important, because horses are very feeling-oriented animals. As prey creatures, their survival depends on an innate ability to sense their environment. They watch and react to everything – as well as communicate with the herd – depending on their surroundings. If one member of the herd gets scared, the entire group responds together and seeks a safer environment.

As humans, we act a little differently by hiding our feelings and emotions. That can make it more difficult to sense other humans and exactly what they’re feeling. Horses, on the other hand, seem to have this sense for what’s in your heart.

So we already know that horses react to other horses’ emotions and behaviors, now we know that humans are equally important to their psyche. That makes leading your horse far more important than just sitting in the saddle and guiding him. Knowing this information can help you to become more centered in your mind and thoughts.

So if you’re having a difficult day and show those emotions to your horse, or if your horse is making the day difficult – try to keep those emotions in check. In doing so, you essentially become a member of his herd by communicating and helping to keep him safe and secure.

Can a Horse Detect Your Feelings?