“How do I know my horse is happy?”

An animal communicator shares how you can determine if your horse is truly happy.

This is a question I would say almost everyone asks me. We love our horses so much and we hope they are happy with us. We hold this fear in our hearts – that we have not done enough, shown up enough, bought enough treats, offered enough support, given enough hugs and kisses, etc. The majority of the time, our horses seem grateful to have us in their lives. After all, we’re the ones that bring the food! But how can we tell that they are truly happy?

Here are some easy ways to recognize joy in your equine companions:

1. They nicker when they see you

Horses nicker when they’re comfortable as a form of communication – it’s their way of saying hello to a friend and acknowledging their presence.

2. They walk to the fence line when you arrive

Horses are herd animals, meaning they like to have friends and people they trust around them. If your horse walks up to you at the fence line or stick close by when you’re in their paddock, not only do they like you – they trust you!

3. They’re eager to please

Horses demonstrate their contentment and trust by following your cues on the ground or in saddle. Remember, they are a 1100lb prey animals – they don’t have to do anything for you, they choose to!

4. They hug you with their head and neck

My horse Airosa was very sensitive on her face, so she preferred to show her affection by wrapping her neck around me. Now Eragon seems to think he’s like a lap dog and tries to wrap his front legs around me to show his love – though I need to have boundaries about this or I will be on the ground with him on top of me! He also loves to play to show his affection – he pulls off my hat, unties my shoes laces and plays with my zippers!

Since all horses have unique personalities, they each have their own way of showing their happiness. Pay attention to their body language – is their energy open to you, or are they closed, guarded and ready to bolt?  Any aggression, pinned ears or a swishing tail is indicative of unhappiness. If this is the case, work to learn what’s causing their agitation and take appropriate action.

Remember, horses are very keen assessors. They know your intention before you even set foot near them, so always be honest and trustworthy with them in order to form a bond of friendship and trust.