Horse Emotional?

Horse Emotions Horse Behavior

Horse Emotions

When observing horse behavior, certain emotions that we sometimes attribute to it’s causes are actually quite alien to how a horse perceives his environment and his social structure.

Horses express their emotions in terms of their natural instincts, behavioral characteristics and traits that are inherent to their species.

Emotions- according to ~Merriam Webster Dictionary is defined as “a conscious mental reaction… usually directed toward a specific object and typically accompanied by behavioral changes in the body”)

There are emotions that humans like to project onto horses that are alien to horses. These emotions are characteristic only of man with his ability to rationalize or …be irrational.

Oddly enough the emotions that are NOT shared between man and horse are the ones that cause much of the mystery about horse behavior and communication.

Notice in the following lists the emotions that ‘are’ and ‘are not’ shared in common.

In particular, attributing anger-3, hostility and remorse to horses:

  • causes confusion and mystery to man about horse behavior
  • results in unsuccessful training and communication methods.

Horse Behavior Emotions … shared with humans

  • Acceptance
  • Affection
  • Anger 1
  • Anger 2
  • Annoyance
  • Apathy
  • Anxiety
  • Boredom
  • Compassion
  • Contentment
  • Curiosity
  • Fear
  • Loneliness
  • Physical suffering

Horse Behavior Emotions … NOT shared with humans

  • Anger 3:
  • Contempt
  • Depression
  • Despair
  • Disapointment
  • Envy
  • Embarrassment
  • Gratitude
  • Guilt
  • Hatred
  • Hostility
  • Jealousy
  • Loathing
  • Shame
  • Regret
  • Remorse
Horse Behavior Emotions - Anger

Anger defined:

Anger 1 The first form of anger, named “hasty and sudden anger” by Joseph Butler an 18th century English bishop, is connected to the impulse for self-preservation. It is shared between humans and animals and occurs when tormented or trapped.
Anger 2 The second type of anger is named “settled and deliberate” anger and is a reaction to perceived deliberate harm or unfair treatm ent by others.These two forms of anger are episodic.
Anger 3 The third type of anger is however dispositional and is related more to human character traits than to instincts or cognitions. Irritability, sullenness, churlishness and boorish are examples of the last form of anger.

Boorish implies rudeness of manner due to insensitiveness to others’ feelings churlish suggests surliness, unresponsiveness, and ungraciousness.

Encarta World English Dictionary

Nobility of the horse


When a person attributes emotions such as ungraciosness, rudeness, sulleness or emotional irritability to a horse’s behavior, there is no way that person can ever ‘demystify’ the horse, communicate with the horse or understand the behavioral actions of the horse.
On the other hand when a person is not able to control their own churlishness, envy, hatred or dispositional anger, and directs it towards the horse…there is also absolutely no possibility of communication. These emotions are as meaningless to a horse as they are to a newborn baby. All they do is instill fear and distrust for an the horse cannot comprehend.

It is precisely because of the lack of these human emotions that man instinctively relates to the nobility of the horse. A person who is noble of character is immune to these emotions.

Noble: possessing outstanding qualities.

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