Being a horse owner myself, I have always wondered, does my horse actually like me? Is he just tolerating me? And what if he’s only happy to see me because I’m the one that gives him food? Is there a way to know if my horse trusts me as well? I decided to study horse behavior and how horses show affection and realized that based on how horses show other horses affection, my horse actually did kind of like having me around. If you are wondering if your horse likes you or trusts you, this is how to tell:
How To Tell If A Horse Likes You
There are several things horses do if they like you and want to show their affection. Some of these things include:
- Blowing on your face
- Nuzzling you and grooming you back
- Rubbing its face on you
- Neighing for you when they see you coming
- Resting their head on you
- Lying down and relaxing in your presence
- Coming up to greet you
- Respecting you and your personal space
So if this is how to tell that a horse likes and trusts you, how does each of these things show that?
Why Do Horses Blow On Your Face & In Each Other’s Nostrils? How Does It Show Affection?
If you watch the behavior of horses, you can see that sometimes horses will blow air into each other’s faces and breathe into each other’s nostrils. This is something they will sometimes do when meeting another horse for the first time, but usually, it’s with a horse they are familiar with. Sometimes, as a sign of affection, horses will blow into each other’s nostrils and they might try to do this to you. If your horse is putting its nose in your face and blowing on you, don’t be alarmed. Your horse is just trying to tell you that he likes you.
My horse Bronze would do this to me and sometimes I would blow into his nostrils too. This would go on for a few seconds where we would blow on each other’s faces and noses. Sometimes I would get weird looks for it but hey, I’m just trying to bond with my pony, don’t judge!
How Does Nuzzling & Grooming Show Affection?
In the wild, horses will groom each other with their mouths and nuzzle each other with their lips. This shows affection and that they care about the horse they are nuzzling. Horses will sometimes nuzzle or try to groom people if they like them and feel safe around them.
I have been nuzzled by a horse when brushing them and petting them. It just shows that they like you and what your doing and want to return the favor. In the wild, or when horses are turned out together, they will groom and nuzzle each other mainly on the withers, so seeing horses doing that is not uncommon, and that means that the horses are probably buddies!
How Does A Horse Rubbing Its Face On You Show Trust?
Horses are not going to relax and be comfortable enough to do this if they do not trust you. If a horse is confident enough to approach you and use you as a scratching post, they are comfortable in your presence.
Yes this is a good sign regarding your horse’s confidence and relaxation around you, but don’t let this become a habit! It can get really annoying to get pushed around and the horse might make it a habit to get in your personal space which is never a good thing. This is a good sign, but a bad habit.
What Is My Horse Doing When He Neighs Or Nickers Whenever He Sees Me?
This is something that I see all the time in the horse world and is also something that I have experienced myself. At a barn I’ve been riding at recently, there is an old bay mare there named Sophie who gets so excited when she sees her owner coming. She will just barely see her car pulling in and she’s already neighing. When her owner starts approaching she waits anxiously and nickers at her owner until her owner is petting her.
Bronze and Crossfiire would do the same thing when my sister and I would get to the barn. They would neigh at us and nicker until we went over and started petting them. If your horse is greeting you and comes to you, it means that they are glad to see you.
What Does It Mean When A Horse Rests Its Head On You?
When horses rest their heads on you it is a sign of affection. Often they will do this when they are standing next to a person they like. The most common place they will rest their head is on the person’s shoulder. If the horse is lying down, sometimes they will put their head on their human friend’s lap. This is a sign of trust as well as affection as the horse is relaxed, vulnerable, and allowing you into their personal space.
Does My Horse Trust Me If It Is Lying Down In My Presence?
Absolutely. If your horse is lying down when you are nearby, it means that they don’t see you as a threat and feel safe with you close by them. Sometimes, horses will even lie down next to their owners and put their head on their owner’s lap. This shows that the horse is happy and comfortable and trusts you are not an attacker.
If your horse trusts and likes you, they should be relaxed when you are around and not show signs of fear.
If My Horse Comes Up To Greet Me Does That Mean He Is Glad To See Me?
Yes, if your horse comes up to you and meets you at the gate or wherever they are, it shows that they are glad enough to see you that they would walk over and say hi.
Bronze would always walk over to me when I had him turned out. If I called his name he would immediately come to me as well. It feels good to know your horse is happy to see you and is wanting to be near you enough to come up to you.
If My Horse Is Respecting My Personal Space Does That Mean He likes Me?
Horses who respect their owner’s personal space respect their owner and like them enough to not barge into their personal space and make them scared and uncomfortable. Establishing your boundaries is important in training as it shows dominance in a way and shows your horse that they must respect you and keep a certain distance away. If a horse is allowing you to have your personal distance and isn’t running you over or bumping into you, they trust you, like you, and respect you as their leader.