The Top 5 Non-human Companions for Your Horse

Last Updated on February 28, 2022 by Allison Price

Horses are social animals. Your horse will have an ever-growing group of companion horses and would never be alone in a perfect world. Horses can sometimes be left alone in the real world. Horses can live with their owners or travel alone to compete in events and other competitions.

As companions, small donkeys

Horses are social animals and thrive with companionship.

Some horses can live a lonely life and travel well, while others may become withdrawn or have trouble sleeping. There are many ways to make your horse feel loved and supported.

Read about Jojo, the monkey that accompanied Seabiscuit as he traveled from racetrack to track.

However, there are many more reasonable and common choices. Dogs, cats, goats, small ruminants, poultry, and small equines are the top five companions for equine horses.

Horses can have a dog as a companion

Horse companions can be great for dogs, provided they understand that your horse is safe from being chased or nipped at by your dog. Dogs that are well-behaved can ride with you on trails or in the carriage on long drives.

A dog as a companion

Horses will love their companionship from friendly and well-behaved golden retrievers.
Thomas Lieser, A(c) 2015.

Dogs will tend to stay at home, while others may be happy to travel or stay at the tack trailer during shows.

A dog can also add security to your horse’s safety by barking at strangers who approach your horse or your property. Many horses form close relationships with their barn mascot dogs.

Dogs often choose to stay in the home with their owners over being outside in the barn with their horse.

Many horses will be happy to have a dog at the barn as an extra companion when you’re away.

If your horse is agitated by barking or leaping dogs, you can calm it with the help of a cat.

Cats are best friends

Cats are a great choice for dual-purpose pets. Barn cats are great for keeping rodents away, and saving you grain, hay, and even tack from their insatiable appetites.

You might see your barn cat snuggled up with your horse on cold nights.

Companions for Your Horse

Many cats get very close to their horses and vice versa. Many adorable photos show cats rubbing up against horses while balanced on a fence or weaving between legs of stable horses while crossing ties.

However, cats are not good companions for travel. Cats are more attached to their surroundings than other living creatures and cannot be trusted to stay at the show site or in the trailer. They are more comfortable at home in the barn.

Other delightful pals

Goats and small ruminants are the most popular horse pals. Horse buddies can also include cows and sheep, particularly small breed cows like Dexters. They can share a pasture, so they can graze happily side-by-side all day. It doesn’t take long to find a veterinarian or buy lots of food.

They are herbivores and share many of the same behavior characteristics as horses. They also desire a “herd”

A goat as a pal

As small ruminant friends wince, goats lead the list. They share some of the same behavior characteristics as horses and love being part of a group.

Because goats are smart and cute, they are very popular. It seems easy to add a Pygmy goat to your household, until you face the problem of caprine escape artists. Even a small goat can find its way through more places than a larger goat.

Mischief is a common occurrence for goats. Although the myth that goats eat tin cans is false, they do eat many unusual things.

Poultry can be used as a companion for horses. Chickens are well-known for their insatiable appetites for ticks. Guinea fowl can also eat a lot of ticks and serve as alarm/sentry animals.

Geese are well-known for their bug eating abilities, but they can also be a Rottweiler’s poultry counterpart when it comes time to watching dogs. Poultry can also provide delicious eggs for your breakfast.

There are some drawbacks to poultry, such as their dander which can cause allergic reactions in horses. They may require special feed or a separate stall. They can get messy.

Although poultry can be a companion for horses, they are not usually able to become attached to them. They are just part of the farm’s “neighborhood”. Many horses still enjoy being around chickens, ducks, and geese.

For a lonely horse, small horses can be companions.

The “small horses” are last but not least. For a lonely horse, miniature horses and miniature donkeys are great companions. They can share the same food and stay in the same areas. They may share a barn or be happy to live in separate spaces depending on how your barn is set up.

Horses can be scared of donkeys, and they don’t bond well with them. It is unknown if this is due to braying. In some cases, donkeys may be “guard animals”.

You might consider a normal-sized donkey to help keep wild dogs and other animals off your property. You should not count miniature horses or miniature donkeys as predator deterrents.

Above all, consider your horse!

Your horse will play a major role in choosing a companion. The newcomer should be able to have his say if he wants to be his friend. To find the perfect fit, you may need to test out a few animals.

Did you know?

You can take your goats along, but they may prefer to be in the stall or trailer during shows.

Horse companions can be costly and may require extra fencing.

While you might be able to get extra benefits like fresh eggs or security, this is still an investment in your horse’s mental health. This is cheaper than buying another horse, and your horse will benefit from the psychological benefits.

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!