Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Do Horses get Jealous? What do You Think?

So here I go, humanizing horses again. But what I witnessed a few days ago really got me to thinking. Do horses get jealous, or am I just over humanizing them once again?

There is an old mare at the barn where I ride that is spoiled silly everyday by a teenage girl. I swear this old mare loves this girl. She has more patience than Jobe with the kid and will absolutely do anything for her. A few days ago this kid had her mare in the wash rack going through her usual daily spa treatment routine. My sister and I were playing with another new horse in the barn aisle. Riding her up and down the barn aisle by the kid's mare. It wasn’t long before this teenager wanted “in on the action”. As soon as she hopped onto the new horse, her trusty, ole friend had a temper tantrum! She pinned her ears back, flared her nostrils, and stomped her feet repeatedly. She couldn't have cared less while my sister and I were messing around with the new horse. But as soon as HER TEENAGER jumped in- she was livid.

Now, I personally think that I witnessed something kind of special. It was an Ahhhh moment that really emphasized to me the special bond that horses can have with people. I truly think that I witnessed a case of horse jealousy. I told my mom- a life-long horse person- about it, and she told me about a pony that she used to have growing up who took a fancy to her and would also have temper fits when she rode something else. He too was an otherwise quiet, well-mannered pony, but he would would rear, buck, kick, and run around his stall squealing if he saw her paying any other horse attention. Hum, got me thinking… Do we have horses, or do horses have us? I’m kind of inclined to think that horses may very well “choose” us and some may even get jealous?


Anonymous said...

I think many horses become fond of their humans. My old boys hates it when I handle other horses. He gets angry and agressive toward the other horse. Then when that doesn't work he get depressed.

But I don't think horses choses us. Afterall we pay a lot of money for them. And they can't just leave us. There are many horses out there who probably would rather never see their owners again. Except perhaps at feed time.

Anonymous said...

I think horses get jealous too but my case is a little different.

There's this horse at my barn named Liberty, she's a rescue and I LOVE her! She was pregnant when she came and I spent everyday with her outside her stall or in her paddock. She also loved me to it was obvious because if I moved away from her she would come trotting over and start rounding me up.

Well when she had her foal she was having her normal protective mother thing going on. So I decided to keep my distance for a while to give her time to herself.

About a month later I try spending time with her again only now she'll just walk away from me! If I come with a lead rope she'll stay but if I don't she'll walk away! I was wondering if this was jealousy because I do work with the other horses ALOT.

Anonymous said...

Yes, horses have pretty complex emotional lives. To think that animals don't is arrogant. One of my horses is IN LOVE with my other horse, and she is jealous of anyone who comes near "her mare". What you saw was jealousy, for sure!