Do Horses Feel Empathy For Humans? Truth is They do

Contents

Summary

  • Horses can understand human emotions, so they can feel empathy for humans.
  • If an owner will be happy then the horse feels happy and vice versa.
  • Horses can feel empathy but it depends on humans, whether they understand their emotions or not.

There is a longstanding debate over whether animals are capable of empathy. Some people believe that only humans are capable of feeling empathy, while others claim that animals can indeed feel empathy.

In the case of horses, people believe that their horses can understand their feelings. While other horse lovers are also looking for answers to “do horses feel empathy for humans?”  It’s still not entirely clear, but the latest research suggests that they just might.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the idea of empathy in animals, specifically horses, and see if there is any scientific evidence to support the claim that they can feel empathy for humans.

Do Horses Feel Empathy for Humans? Horse Understands Emotion

Scientists have long debated whether animals are capable of feeling empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. In order to feel empathy, one must be able to understand the emotions of others.

Horses are social animals and have been shown to form close bonds with both other horses and humans. These animals are cooperatively working for humans for the past 5500 years. It is a domesticated animal and has also been used as a working animal.

According to research, horses can form an emotional and cooperative relationship with humans and this association is similar to dogs.

Horse form close bond with humans but Do horse feel empathy for humans

But do horses feel empathy for humans? The short answer is: that we don’t really know for sure. However, there is some evidence to suggest that they might be capable of this emotion.

One study found that horses exhibited similar stress responses to humans when they were exposed to emotional stimuli. This suggests that they may be able to understand our emotions and feel empathy for us.

The most convincing piece of evidence that horses can feel empathy for humans is emotional contagion. Emotional contagion is the ability to catch and feel another person’s emotions. It’s a type of empathy where you automatically mirror and feel the emotions of another person.

We know that horses are capable of emotional contagion because they often mirror the emotions of their owners.

For example, if an owner is happy, the horse will also be happy. However, if an owner is sad or anxious, the horse will adopt these negative emotions. This suggests that horses are capable of empathy and can understand our emotions. However, further research is needed to confirm this claim.

If you have a horse, pay close attention to its behavior and see if you can notice any instances of empathy.

The study, conducted by scientists at the University of Sussex, looked at whether horses could react to the emotions of human facial expressions. The study found that horses were more likely to approach a person who was smiling, and they were also more likely to avoid a person who had an angry expression. This suggests that horses may be able to read human emotions and react accordingly.

horse can understand humans emotions

While the evidence is not definitive, it does suggest that horses may be capable of feeling empathy for humans. Remember, even if they can’t feel empathy, they are still amazing creatures that deserve our love and care.

Empathy and CompassionObservational Example

One of my friends – David shared his experience with his horse. David had always been close to his horses. When his wife died, he was inconsolable. He spent all his time at the stables, just being around the animals.

One day, David was sitting in the stable, crying into his hands. Suddenly, one of the horses walked up to him and nuzzled him comfortingly. David looked up in surprise; it was the first time one of the horses had ever shown such compassion.

Over time, David came to rely on the horse’s companionship. The horse would come over and nuzzle him when he was feeling down, and it made all the difference in the world to David. He knew that even though his wife was gone, she was still with him in spirit.

So, the horse is a loyal friend and can feel empathy for you. It depends on your ability you can understand them or not. If you have a close bond with your horse, then it is more likely that they will understand your emotions.

If you are sad or anxious, they will adopt these negative emotions. But if you are happy, the horse will also be happy. This suggests that horses can feel empathy for humans and can understand our emotions.

Conclusion

So, do horses feel empathy for humans? The evidence is still inconclusive, but there is some evidence to suggest that they might be capable of this emotion.

If you have a horse, pay close attention to its behavior and see if you can notice any instances of empathy. In the meantime, we should continue to love and care for these amazing creatures.

What is your opinion? Do you think horses can feel empathy for humans? Let us know in the comments below.

References

  1. Outram, A. K., Stear, N. A., Bendrey, R., Olsen, S., Kasparov, A., Zaibert, V., … & Evershed, R. P. (2009). The earliest horse harnessing and milking. Science, 323(5919), 1332-1335.
  2. Hausberger, M., Gautier, E., Biquand, V., Lunel, C., & Jégo, P. (2009). Could Work Be a Source of Behavioural Disorders? A Study in Horses. PLOS ONE, 4(10), e7625. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0007625
  3. Baba, C., Kawai, M., & Takimoto-Inose, A. (2019). Are horses (Equus caballus) sensitive to human emotional cues?. Animals, 9(9), 630.
  4. Smith, A. V., Proops, L., Grounds, K., Wathan, J., & McComb, K. (2016). Functionally relevant responses to human facial expressions of emotion in the domestic horse (Equus caballus). Biology letters, 12(2), 20150907.
  5. Proops, L., Grounds, K., Smith, A. V., & McComb, K. (2018). Animals remember previous facial expressions that specific humans have exhibited. Current Biology, 28(9), 1428-1432.

Author

  • Elsie J. Johnson

    Elsie J. Johnson is a hippophile (who love horse). She has spent the last 12 years of her life caring for and observing horses' emotional intelligence or needs. She is studying and paying close attention to how the horse reacts in a particular situation.

    Johnson Elsie J.

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