Horses In Love: Fact Or Fiction

January 12, 2023
Horses in love

There is no doubt that horses make excellent companions. They also have no problem showing their trust and affection. However, does that mean that a horse can love a human being?

Studies show that horses are unable to handle complicated, deep feelings like love. Therefore, it is still unclear whether a horse’s affection can be considered a horse in love. In most cases, horses simply form a deep bond with the people they prefer.

Horses are one of the many animals that have helped define human history. These majestic beasts played a key role in many ways, such as in human wars. It isn’t surprising that a symbiotic relationship between horses and humans was created. Because of this, many wonder whether horses falling in love is a fact or a work of fiction. Here is all to know about horses in love.

All About Horses In Love

child love for horse

To understand whether horses are capable of such a strong emotion like love, it is imperative to first recognize what love is defined as by humans. According to the Urban Dictionary, love in its purest forms is a profound feeling of attraction born from a deep bond, whether personal or blood ties.

1. Can Horses Fall In Love?

Does it stand to reason that the definition of love also applies to horses? It is well-known that horses can feel affection for others, including humans. They can also be picky with who they let get close to them. This has been proven in many instances by horse owners.

Suppose you’re wondering how horses show affection. In that case, here are some ways that have been observed:

  • One excellent way to tell a horse likes you is when it willingly comes to you. If you notice your horse breaking away from the pasture to lope to you, then this means that your horse likes your presence and is ecstatic to see you. It also shows that the horse recognizes you and isn’t afraid to show affection.
  • Horses have also been known to show their affection physically by gently head-butting or nudging, greeting you with a nicker, ears perking, and even blowing air at you. Most horses display these behaviors as signs of affection.
  • You will also find that your horse will act in certain ways only when it’s the two of you. For example, your horse may approach you from behind and lean its head against your shoulder. Your horse may lie on you to rest, take a little nap, or do quirky things like imitate what you do.

2. Horses In Love: Is It Possible?

Horse owners want their horses to love them as much as they love them. But is it possible for horses to fall in love with humans? Truthfully, love is a tricky and complex emotion that humans are still trying to get the hang of. Let alone passing on that capability to animals like horses.

Horses form an attraction, awareness, and even a bond with a particular person. These animals are great at showing who they like being nearby. They can even act differently when they are around their preferred person.

There have been numerous debates about how humans project their feelings onto horses and how horses aren’t actually capable of love. Some people are skeptical that favorable behavior and human preference can be easily explained away. Recent studies have shown that horses are capable of reading human emotions to a certain extent.

3. Whys Is It Difficult To Believe A Horse Can Love?

little girl horse love

The horses in the studies tended to look at pictures portraying negative emotions with their left eye. As information observed by the left eye gets processed on the right side of a horse’s brain, which is where flight or fight decisions are made, people showing the opposite of love are less likely to get a welcoming response.

This means that the idea of these animals acting favorably to love being projected isn’t far-fetched. Evidence suggests that horses are bound to form strong ties to individuals they spend a lot of time around as they start becoming more recognizable to them. One of the leading arguments in the debate is that horses will generally gravitate toward the person that feeds them, much like many other animals.

Horses adore social interactions among themselves, but that isn’t to say they can do so across species. The connections that horses have between themselves are just as unique as the ones between humans. It’s also vital to keep in mind that horses can also generalize.

Because of this, it is difficult to tell if any affection shown by a horse is love that that individual horse learned. This is because it can be a genetically adapted behavior passed down from one generation to another that happens to take the form of a human-like emotion because of domestication. In short, it is challenging trying to work out what the word love means to a horse.

4. If Horses Cannot Love, What Bond Can They Have With A Human?

Some are of a different opinion that there is evidence that suggests that imposing attributes like human emotions on equine make them even more difficult to understand. Thinking that animals can take on human concepts may inevitably lead to more of the unknown, inconsistencies, and contradictions simply because love is a human concept.


There isn’t enough research to fully understand animals’ values, thoughts, and feelings, particularly horses. Because of this, humans can only study their conduct and behavior and make do to make sense of it. For this reason, it is believed it is best to be scientifically objective and to stop subjectively interpreting equine behavior.

All this doesn’t negate the fact that strong bonds can form. One can say there is a very clear and willing partnership, as humans and horses can bond or gain trust through interaction. Once a horse and the rider become familiar with and at ease with one another, it isn’t uncommon for both to enjoy each other’s company and keep their attention on further building their connection with one another.

5. Can Horses Fall In Love With Other Horses?

As social animals, horses aren’t creatures that prefer to live by themselves. Judging by their playful interactions and grooming habits, horses are capable of great affection among themselves.

black horse love

Even with proof that horses can show high levels of affection, there seem to be no behavioral studies behind whether or not horses are capable of love, even amongst themselves. If that is the case, one has to wonder whether horses love their kids or if it is instinctual care?

Interestingly, because different emotional reactions from human behavior have been mapped to that of animals, like happiness and sadness, some say that horses are also naturally and instinctively compelled to take care of their young in most species. Their underlying attachment wiring is designed to ensure that this is the case.

6. Horses In Love: Deep Bond Story

As much as talk of whether or not horses are capable of love is still ongoing, many horse owners eagerly want to share stories that they believe prove they have a special partnership with their horses. However, does that necessarily mean that the close relationship is proof that horses can love? One adorable bond between a horse and an adventurous kid is from The Dodo.

The little boy and the horse have had a special relationship ever since they met. The mother documented how it all started with the boy calling Maple from the pastures. To her surprise, the horse quickly made its way over to Colton without hesitation.

This has been an ongoing ritual where the little boy calls his horse, May May, and the horse immediately jogs to the fence. The horse is always incredibly gentle and allows the boy to pet and converse with her. Many followers have commented what a sweet friendship and bond the pair have, further proven by the mother expressing that Maple doesn’t run up to the fence when she calls out to him.

It isn’t difficult to see that the horse loves the physical touch and that both are comfortable around each other, even in close quarters. Colton offers the horse companionship and even helps to feed and brush it. Maple seems to be aware that she needs to be careful with the boy and is calm and graceful, particularly when he takes her for a walk.

Maple is besotted with Colton and follows him just about everywhere. When the family has been away, the first thing Colton does is rush over to the pastures to see his horse, and May May is equally happy to see him.

Although it may not necessarily be readily classified as a horse in love, it’s easy to see that Maple and Colton have a deep bond of affection and trust. As can be seen, this story supports the fact that horses are capable of deep emotion.

Still, regardless of how research has proven that horses are intelligent animals that use facial expressions to communicate among themselves and how they are also capable of interpreting human expressions and thus forming deep bonds that can often be interpreted as love, love is an emotion that may not necessarily be applied to them. 

7. Can You Make A Horse Love You?

Some people say you can make a horse love you, while others are adamant that it isn’t possible. Whether it is possible or not, there are still some ways you can build a deep connection and closeness with your horse.

8. Establish Some Kind Of Communication Connection

Establishing a connection with your horse is the first step to kick-starting bond building. Ensure that you have a consistent, clear way to communicate with them. Remember that understanding how they communicate with one another will play a big role in your ability to communicate with your horse.

beautiful lady love for horse

Horses typically communicate through body language, such as sharing breath, grooming one another, etc. It’s important to provide clear direction with your body as they will take all their cues from your body language and not necessarily your voice. Consistent communication will help build confidence in the system you’re using, resulting in a strong bond of trust and happiness.

9. Spend Copious Amounts Of Time With Your Horse

Ensure that you also spend time with your horse. As with just about any relationship in the world, the more a horse gets to spend time with you, the more it will get to know you and, in turn, trust you. Horses learn by repetition.

One quality time thing you can do to bond with your horse is to brush its coat. This is an obvious and effective way to help your horse learn that your touch is positive. The more they see you and spend time with you, the more they will build that familiarity and become fond of you.

Another great way to bond with your horse is to pet it, particularly on the face. Lastly, you can simply be in their presence while they are grazing. Horses generally spend their days grazing next to each other in the wild.

Being present during this time will help your horse become more comfortable around you. Be careful not to assume. What is often mistaken as a horse displaying love is, in a fair number of situations, separation anxiety during the bonding stage.


Horses are stunning creatures that are capable of a range of emotions. However, love isn’t one of the emotions that experts believe horses can express. Basically, horses see their keepers as a safe haven. Horses are happy to come to you, do small things that show affection, act different around you, etc. But ultimately, the verdict is still out on whether they are capable of love.



I'm Bo, the owner of Smarter Horse. Helping horses be smarter by educating their people.  To find out more about me, click here

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}