1. They come up to greet you
If a horse likes you, they will often come up to greet you when they hear you coming. They may run up to the pasture fence or be eagerly waiting for you at their stall door. If a horse is eager to greet you, that is their way of showing they like you. When they come up to greet you, they are excited to spend time with you.
2. They nicker or whinny for you
Horses often nicker and whinny towards people they are familiar to. They often vocalize with a whinny or nicker when they are trying to get the attention of other horses or people. When your horse nickers when they hear you coming, they are eager to see you. Nickering is a way for them to greet you.
3. They rest their head on you
When a horse rests their head on you, it’s a sign of trust. They feel comfortable around you and like you enough to rest their head on you. When a horse rests its head on you, it’s a way for them to bond with you and show their affection. They are letting you know they enjoy being in your presence. It’s like their way of giving a hug.
4. They nudge you
Though nudging can mean other things, it is often associated with a horse that is showing affection towards you. Nudging can be the equivalent of a horse giving you a hug or kiss. If a horse likes you, they will often nudge you to seek out your attention. Gentle nudges can be a way for a horse to show their love for you. They mean even lick or lip at you in addition to their nudge.
5. They are relaxed around you
A horse that trusts you will be comfortable enough to relax around you. Signs your horse is relaxed around you is that they will be doing things such as licking and chewing, lowering their head, letting out a sigh and cocking a back leg.
When a horse lets you come up to them while they are lying down, that is a true sign of trust. Horses are vulnerable when they are lying down, so when they let you come up to them while they are lying down they have lots of trust and love for you.
6. They groom you back
Grooming is one of the best ways to bond with your horse. When your horse grooms you back, they see you as a friend. If your horse nibbles on your shoulder or head, it is their way of grooming you. This is a way they can show you they like you.
Horses groom each other in the wild not only because it feels good to them, but also because it is a way to show affection towards one another. They will nibble at each other’s withers, backs and necks.
7. They show you respect
In horses, respect is a sign of trust. If your horse likes and trusts you, they will respect you. A horse that trusts you will see you as a leader. They will respect your space and commands. A horse that likes you is willing to follow your lead, which is also a sign of respect.
Some horses will even follow their owners around. When a horse follows you, they trust you to take care of them. This is a way that they will show their respect for you.
8. They breathe on your face
If a horse comes up and takes a breath on your face, it is an ultimate sign of respect and trust. Horses will show affection by gently blowing air on each other through their nostrils.
When a horse blows on your face, it is a sign they see you as a trusty companion. Horses will breathe in your face if they see you as part of their family.
It is one of the top ways horses show affection to the ones they love.
The above is important for advocates to understand too. It helps us to identify if horses are content where they are and whom they are with — that they feel happy and secure.
The Horsey Hooves Network is an online platform created to connect horse lovers from all around the world.