Do Horses Protect Their Owners Like Dogs Do?

Do Horses Protect Their Owners Like Dogs Do

Man's best friend, the dog, will protect their owners at all costs, but do horses act the same way? Horses are large and often friendly animals. Humans have been using them for thousands of years, and there is clearly a connection between our two species. Of course, they’re larger barn animals, but it might just be the case that horses form a connection with us just like dogs do. Does this mean that a horse will protect its owner as a dog would? Read on to find out more!


Horses are no doubt one of the more popular pets around the globe. They often show attachment towards their owners, and they can also enjoy the presence of a stranger. The emotional attachment that a horse forms with its owner is highly dependent on the situation. Just like any person, dog, or pet, if they are treated poorly, the attachment formed will not be healthy or happy. However, if the human treats them well and trains them well, the attachment the horse forms will be much stronger. 

Horses naturally have a type of herd mentality. When a human comes into a horse's life and makes a positive impact, the horse will come to see them as part of the herd over time. In many cases, the horse will come to see the human as the herd leader. The more attached a horse is to its owner, the more likely it is that they would protect them. Lastly, it is important to note that the horse will identify their owner with being fed, cared for, and exercised. In many cases, it can be hard to say if the horse has become attached to the owner or if they simply associate them with their own well-being.  


While being completely different animals, the way dogs become attached to their owners is similar to the attachment process seen in horses. The owner needs to treat them well to form a healthy bond, the dog will associate the owner with food and care, and the dog will come to see their owner as part of the pack. Dogs begin to differ from horses in the sense that they might be able to care and understand for their human on a deeper level than a horse. Dogs are known to get severe separation anxiety and will wait at the door for their owner’s return. At times, dogs will even become sad or angry when their owner is giving attention to another animal. These are behaviors not often seen in horses.

The Final Word

While the attachment processes in dogs and horses can easily be examined, it can be much harder to define how, why, or if these animals will react in a way to protect their owners. It is common knowledge that dogs will protect their owners in certain situations. However, this has not been a widely-observed behavior in horses. While it is completely plausible that a horse will physically defend its owner, it is highly dependent on who the horse is, who the owner is, and how that horse has been treated.