5 Ways Horses Show Affection to Humans

Last Updated on February 22, 2022 by Allison Price

Horses and humans have been close friends for centuries. Horses are not just a means of transport, but they also serve as close companions to humans.

Horses are social animals. They are social with other horses as well as people. Horses can build strong bonds by showing affection. Horses can show their affection in many ways.

Horses are just as likely to show affection to humans than they are to their own horses. Horses can show affection by nuzzling, rubbing their heads, and even licking.

Understanding their body language can help you to understand when they are showing affection.

These are five common ways horses show their affection for humans:

Get licked

You’re likely to have received a big, sweet lick from your horse if you’ve ever been given one. Horses will lick you or kiss you to show their affection.

Horses will likely grab you by the lips and kiss you if they like your style. They may also check to see if there are any treats.

Your Head is theirs

Although it might seem that your horse is using the horse as a scratching board, they will trust you and rub on you. This is a sign that they trust you and are comfortable around you.

It is common for horses to rub their heads on your skin, often because they want to scratch an itch. They will only do this if they feel safe.

Although it is possible to be affectionate, experts recommend that you do not allow your horse to rub their head on your chest. This can cause an invasion of your privacy.

Horses are large and can accidentally inflict injuries on you, especially if they have a harness or bridle attached.

Ways Horses Show Affection to Humans

Your Head is Theirs

Horses will often place their heads on their owners to show affection. This is a way for horses to hug you and show their affection.

Horses often rest their heads on your chest, or on your shoulders. If they trust you, they will place their heads on your chest. Horses will also rest their heads on the backs of other horses if they consider them to be companions.

It is a sign that a horse is relaxed when they rest their head on your chest. It is a sign that a horse trusts you when they are relaxed around you.

Follow You to the Field

If they perceive you as a leader, a horse will follow you. Horses will follow you if they trust you to take care them.

If your horse follows you around, it could be a sign that they are affectionate and want to be with you. If they are bonded with you, your horse will follow you around.

Horses instinctively follow their herd leader. If your horse regards you as a leader, they are likely to follow you.

Horses can sometimes be too pushy and follow their owners around. Horses may follow their owners around hoping to get treats. While following you, it is important for your horse to respect your space.


Horses will often nudge you to get your attention. You might be able to pet them, or simply say hello to them.

Horses will often nuzzle people they are comfortable with. Horses will show appreciation and sometimes even receive affection from you. You might be able to offer them affection in return, such as a pet or scratch or some treats.

Horses love gentle nudges. Horses that are too pushy can be a violation of your personal respect. Your horse should learn to respect your boundaries.

Allison Price
Allison Price

I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!