Do horses enjoy humans riding them?

Almost every rider has pondered if her horse enjoys being rode, but many of us have avoided asking because we are afraid of the response.

Many horses like to work with humans and exhibit good characteristics while being ridden willingly and cheerfully. On the other hand, some horses bolt when they see a halter in hand as they glance up from the round bale. Others are calm when catching and saddling, yet pin their ears and wring their tails when ridden.

Rather than seeing the response as all or nothing, it’s better to grasp what factors make riding more or less fun in general. Let’s see Do horses enjoy humans riding them?

Do horses enjoy humans riding them?

Yes, horses do enjoy humans riding them if you ride them with care and consideration. But how you can tell if your horse is content?

First and foremost, ensure that you have a fundamental understanding of how horses convey their emotions. If you’re new to the equestrian world, read this excellent Equus Magazine article on equine body language.

Horse satisfaction symptoms include:

  • Relaxed, floppy, and sideways ears
  • Standing solidly on all four feet with a lowered head
  • cocked back foot and hip
  • Lips drooping and relaxed
  • Chewing and licking
  • Slow blinking and a gentle glance
  • Tail swinging rhythmically

Horse dissatisfaction symptoms include:

  • Ears pinned back or rapidly swiveling
  • “Snaking” action in the head and neck with raised head
  • Legs stretched apart, weight in back Pawing, stomping feet
  • Back foot lifted
  • Nostrils that are flared or quivering (when not breathing heavily from work)
  • Muzzle and lips pinched
  • Skin that is too tight around darting eyes
  • The whites of the eyes are visible.
  • Tail clenched or swishing

Take notice of how your horse acts/reacts to things you know they like (e.g., belly scratching) and how he acts/reacts to things you know he dislikes (e.g. getting a bath).

Pay close attention to facial expressions, energy level shifts, and body language during both positive and bad encounters. You don’t want to get hurt, trust me, you should read Does it hurt a guy to ride a horse?

This information can then be used as an emotional baseline to assist you discern when your horse is experiencing positive or negative feelings under saddle.

What if my horse has a bad attitude while I’m riding?

It is critical not to punish your horse for expressing his feelings, especially if he expresses discontent with the activity you are requesting of him. We need feedback from our equine partners so that we may figure out what is causing the negative reaction and address it.

You’d chuckle, wipe away the slobber, and tell your dog you love him if he came up to you and gave you a huge wet kiss on the cheek. On the other hand, if someone you didn’t know planted one on you, you’d be terrified out. You may even respond physically by slapping the stranger or fleeing!

Does this imply that you despise all kisses? No, it means that the conditions are more important than the action.

The same goes for your horse.

When horses express dissatisfaction with riding, it is our responsibility to begin asking questions.

  • What factors could be causing your horse to exhibit signs of pain, agitation, worry, fear, or other undesirable emotions?
  • When did you notice the conduct for the first time?
  • What happens just before it?
  • What happens after that?
  • Is this behavior of the horse observed outside of riding?