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Do Horses Like Humans?



Do Horses Like Humans

Horses have been man’s loyal companions for centuries. They work alongside us, entertain us, and even help us in learning various skills like riding and driving. But do horses like humans? Do they form emotional bonds with us? These are some of the questions that have baffled equine enthusiasts for years. While horses may not express themselves verbally or in ways that we humans understand, they do have their ways of communicating and bonding with us.

In this blog, we will dive into the world of equine psychology to understand if horses like humans.

Social Animals

Horses are social animals that bond strongly with their herd, and they can also bond with humans. However, the bonding process with humans takes a different form than bonding with other horses. Horses are herd animals and need to feel safe and secure, so they are naturally aware of humans’ intentions and body language. They pick up signals from our tone of voice, gestures, and movements to gauge whether we are friendly or pose a threat. Therefore, we need to approach them in a non-threatening way, especially when trying to bond with them.


Horses have a remarkable ability to remember humans they have interacted with and recognize them even after a long time. According to research, horses can recognize photographs of familiar human faces and react differently to them than unknown faces. This recognition shows that horses can form lasting impressions of humans, which can lead to emotional bonding.

Touches and Massages

Studies also show that horses respond positively to gentle touch and massages from humans. These touch therapies can strengthen the bond between horses and humans and can reduce anxiety and stress levels. However, it’s important to recognize that horses have preferences on where and how they want to be touched. Some horses may not like certain places or patterns of touch on their body, so it’s essential to pay attention to their body language to understand their preferences.

Human Emotions

Horses are also known to mirror human emotions, which suggests that they can empathize with us. A study conducted by the University of Sussex found that horses respond differently to human emotions of happiness, anger, and fear. When interacting with happy, smiling faces, horses show more positive behaviors like nuzzling and playing. In contrast, they show negative behaviors like irritability and avoidance when presented with angry or nervous faces. The study concludes that horses can recognize and respond to human emotional states, highlighting their ability to bond with humans.


While horses may not express their emotions like humans, they do have a way of communicating their feelings. Horses use body language to convey messages and establish social hierarchies and herd dynamics. Therefore, it’s crucial to learn the basics of equine body language to communicate effectively with them. By understanding their body language, we can build trust, respect, and a deeper connection with our equine companions.


So, do horses like humans? Based on the available evidence, horses can form emotional bonds with humans, recognize familiar faces, respond to human emotions and touch, and use their body language to communicate. However, building a strong bond with horses takes time, patience, and mutual trust. The key to establishing a deep relationship with horses is to respect their nature and connect with them on their terms.

When we approach horses with kindness, gentleness, and empathy, we can form meaningful connections that can last a lifetime.

I am Tommy, an avid equestrian who is passionate about the lifestyle. Writing for an equestrian blog has been a lifelong dream of mine, as I have been around horses my whole life. My mission is to share all the knowledge and experiences I have gathered throughout the years in order to help others reach their goals in this amazing sport. My dedication and enthusiasm towards horses and all things related to them never cease to amaze me!

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