The 5 Love Languages of horses – what does my horse most want?

Many of you will have heard of the Five Love Languages which play out in human relationships from the work of Gary Chapman. But have you ever wondered about love languages with horses?

What would you reckon are the top five love languages for your horse? What do you think your horse most wants you to provide for him or her?

I’ve mentioned the 3 F’s (forage, friends and freedom) which are essential to a horse’s mental well-being, in previous posts. This takes those ideas further…what gifts of love can you offer your horse to make him or her a happier being?

Here is my top five :

1) Safety

This would always be at the top of my list. When your horse feels safe, he can relax. He can let you guide him. He wants to be guided and he enjoys having a leader. Being a prey animal, safety is always uppermost in a horse’s mind. He will always choose safety first. If you can provide him with this when he’s with you, and in his overall environment it automatically improves his quality of life.

Being a good leader to your horse, will ensure you overcome most obstacles you may encounter along the way. Good leadership cement’s the bond between you and your horse.

2) Friends and stimulation

horses playing

Include some “playtime”in your weekly schedule. If your horse doesn’t have a friend to play with, you can take on that role.

Let’s face it, horses want to be horses. They want to hang out with their friends. Horses want to play, nip and groom each other. They want to run around and kick their heels up. Aside from the fact that they are prey animals, horses are above anything else, herd animals. Take a horse out of the herd environment and he’s going to know there’s something missing.

Horses that get this mental and physical stimulation don’t develop vices and weird habits. Their need for friends is being fulfilled.

In situations where it’s not possible to keep your horse in a yard that has a herd setup, you can simulate the herd in some ways by ‘being a horse’ to your horse – practice regular groundwork and natural horsemanship techniques which mimic the way horses interact with one another.

3) Food, glorious food!

…pretty much ALL the time

Horses are designed to eat 16 -17 out of the 24 hours in a day! Mentally it makes them happy knowing they always have forage available and physically it keeps them healthy. Constant access to food – as nature intended, keeps boredom away which reduces the chances of your horse developing vices and behavioral issues due to boredom.

Providing your horse with constant access to roughage keeps their stomach full and the digestive tract moving. Slow steady consumption of forage, stimulates saliva which helps to buffer stomach acid, reducing the chance of ulcers developing.

Slow feed hay nets mimic a horse’s natural grazing behavior ensuring your horse has a constant and steady supply of food around the clock ⏰…and you save money because of less wastage! Slow feeder hay nets are a must have at our yard!

4) Understanding

girl kissing horseThis includes communication, consistency and patience – whenever you are around your horse, be it riding, training or just mucking out the stables. If my horses feel I understand them and speak a language that they can understand, I know by the way they interact with me that they feel very content.

The people that will succeed with their horse are those that are prepared to listen to how their horse feels.

When your horse feels understood and you are clear and consistent in your communication with him, he will trust you and will look forward to his interactions with you.

5) Knowledge

Having a knowledgeable owner or carer is one of the best gifts a horse can have. A person with knowledge could mean the difference between a great ride and a horrible ride. Or the difference between an average life or a happy life. Or it may mean the difference between life or death for a horse.

Knowledge extends far beyond your riding technique – it should encompass all the areas of horse care you can find out about. If you take the time to do your homework and become knowledgeable, not just about horses in general, but about every little thing you can know, you have one very lucky horse indeed. Take it upon yourself to read books and do your research, so you can become the best horse owner and carer possible for your horse.


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