A horse is a horse, of course, of course, but it probably doesn’t like you.
Aside from dogs and cats, horses may be one of the few animals that humans often have close relationships with. This may have led many people to fall in love with the majestic animals, although a new study suggests the feelings may not be mutual.
This horse probably doesn’t love you.
Researchers from Sweden’s Linkoping University believe that, while horses seem to relax when they’re around people, they don’t necessarily form bonds with specific humans, The New York Post reports.
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In the study, researchers explained that horses appear to show an increased heart rate when separated from any human in general. The authors claim this is because horses appear to view humans as safe, and they are calmed by our presence, but they don’t appear to be affected by the presence of specific people.
In other words, they don’t seem to care about which one of us is around them.
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The study compared the horses’ reactions to people to those of dogs, as canines have been known to show increased playfulness with their owners, among other behaviors, that suggest a connection with specific people.
“In addition, dogs repeatedly reveal behaviors such as increased play and exploratory behavior together with their owner,” the researchers wrote. “To our knowledge, this has not been documented in horses.”
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This apparent lack of “love” from the horses hasn’t stopped humanity from building a strong relationship with the species. The animals are used for work, transportation, therapy, and sport, and many are even kept as pets by enthusiasts and equestrians. If this new research is accurate, however, horses aren’t returning the feelings.