Howdy Friends! “What About Horses’ Emotions?”..I’m often asked about how I feel about horses’ emotions. Surely horses don’t have emotions on the same level as humans some folks say. Some say to try to project human emotions on horses is folly, foolish. Some say we simply want to believe horses feel emotions like we do. Some folks don’t even think about it.
Are emotions the same as caring, connection, bonding? I believe you can’t have any of those without emotions, and we all know our horses care about us, bond with us.
What about respect? Some will ask. To gain respect from a horse we must first give it. Isn’t that the same as with our human peers?
What about love? Can they love us the same as a person can love us? What would be so wrong about accepting and believing that a horse can love a human as deeply as they can another horse, or we can another human?
Oh their just acting that way because they’re trained, or looking to you for food, or any other of the many standard explanations of how horses act and react.
Emotions play a huge part relationships. Any relationship. Human to human or horse to human. In relationships with my horses over the years I not only considered what they required when learning new things, but also their emotions while learning too.
In the time I spent rehabilitating horses I noticed a wide range of emotions – from fear, to mistrust, to need, to shut down, too confusion, to seeking advice and leadership. Building their confidence meant understanding their emotions, on a level equal to mine. And it meant seeing them as equals. I really dislike the, “You gotta be in charge” theme. If we’re equals we can achieve cooperation, support, loyalty and love. In true partnerships. Partners do things for each other because they want to, not because they’re trained to.
I’m not a trainer but in all things, I believe love, honor, respect and understanding and feeling emotions make any relationship strong, lasting and sterling. Including a relationship with horses.
Sure training is important too, of course. But I submit understanding and honoring the emotions of the horse makes training smoother and more lasting. And actually I’m not even fond of the word, “training.” I like education or teaching better.
In my heart I believe if a lot more folks projected human emotions on horses … A lot fewer horses would suffer.
So go ahead, project your emotions onto your horse, and remember to let hers, touch your heart, and guide your hand as you teach, and learn too.~Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry-Excerpt my book, IT’S FOR THE HORSES – Find it here: (And the book trailer too) https://dutchhenryauthor.com/dutch-henrys-its-for-the-horses/
~ Gitty Up, Dutch.