I am still amazed at the empathy horses can show

While today is a sad day for me (anniversary of my friends passing)
I will still never forget the way the horses treated me that day, I had been seeing my neighbors horses everyday for about 2 years at that point he’s an older guy and appreciated the help (feeding, grooming, small amount of riding, and just hanging out in pasture)

After I got the horrific call the only safe place felt like going to the barn, I will never forget…
The horses all came up to me one by one being extremely gentle, then one of the older horses placed her head up against me and just stood there, letting me cry into her mane for several minutes. It was this surreal moment.

I’ve seen it other times over the years as well, one day recently I was feeling sad after losing my heart horse to an accident and sitting in a shady corner of the pasture, the yearling came
up to me and stood there quietly with her nose a few inches from my shoulder.

Horses are just amazing and will always appreciate these moments of comfort from them.
Anyone else have stories?


my older daughter had her Morgan at school as a prop for a book report on “Justin Morgan Had a Horse”

Horse stood in place letting the kids surround her, then she very,very slowly worked her way over to the one girl who was wheelchair bound then slowly put her head into the girls lap

The girl started crying, I went to move the horse away but the girl’s mother stopped me to say her daughter was crying from happiness not fear… her daughter told her mother that no animal ever liked her before.

So, needless to say the girl was invited to stop by our place to see her horse any time she wanted.

(The last I heard she obtained her PhD in behavioral science)

(Daughter’s Morgan was at that middle school so often that the principal wanted to award the horse a graduation diploma along with daughter)


My City friends come to the farm & are drawn to the horses.
Without a clue as to horse body language or the fact they are not just big dogs :smirk:
I love this pic as they mobbed the horse & he stood quietly & patiently as they crowded in to be in the pic :heart_eyes:


well some are little pups


My late husband battled cancer for 8 years. The barn was my refuge, and sometimes I was really struggling with the realities and stresses of his health. I’d enter my horse’s stall and he would come up to me and place his enormous head against my chest and just stand there, leaning into me. I cried so many tears into his forelock over the years. He just knew I needed comfort. This is a horse that many people at the barn were sort of afraid of. He was big and goofy and a little reactive. But I trusted him completely. It was my horses that helped me get through that awful time.


I live on property at the barn I ride at so I often go hang out with the horses that are turned out in the evenings, especially when I’m sad. One particular evening I was really feeling down so I went to go have some therapy time with my lesson boy. He indulged me but it was kind of that awkward “uh, you ok buddy?” sort of way. Suddenly one of the beginner lesson horses who’s kind of the cranky stoic old man of the barn comes up, shoos him away, and kind of leans against me; he stood with me kind of curled in the bend of his neck while I vented into his mane for probably half an hour. He’s such a crab normally, it was kind of amazing that he “volunteered” for comfort detail. Seems that underneath his cranky dinosaur exterior, he’s a big ol softie at heart, lol.


Immediately after I PTS my first horse, I was walking back to the barn and passed by a paddock where two other horses were.

I knew them well. One was tolerant of attention but didn’t seek it out, and the other usually took a few minutes to make his way over to say hi.

That day, though, both of them were watching me intently as I walked toward them and stood right by the fence waiting for me to come up to them. As soon as I did, they both leaned their heads against my shoulder and let me stand there with them, unmoving, for as long as I wanted.

It was out of character for both of them, and I’ll never forget it.


@clanter Your lovely stories always bring happy tears to my eyes. Thanks for sharing your family’s special horses with us.


My old gelding passed away in his pasture with his herd. He had been fine in the morning at turn-out time and at noon when the barn owner checked on the herd.

When I arrived in the afternoon, I was the one who found him down and already gone. He was 38 (JC age) and had a heart murmur that had worsened over the years.

I was all alone, crying, down on the ground with him and laying my upper body and head on his neck and petting his head. Then I felt the noses. I hadn’t even heard the hooves approaching. One nose was in my hair, one was on my leg and one came around to my hand that was petting his head. His herd had come to comfort me.

That’s how the barn owner found us 30 minutes later, clustered together. Those horses stayed with me and Gatsby until the truck arrived. I know they came to help me, not just to be with Gatsby, because when I arrived, I had found them standing about 50 feet from him.

When my vet came, she said the bare spots on his face were from the other horses licking him. She said that is a natural thing for a herd to do when a member dies. They had already said their goodbyes to him before I got there.

I know in my heart that their coming back and nuzzling me was their way of saying “We know. We loved him, too. It will be okay.” It still makes me cry remembering their kindness to me. :sob:


I grew up poor so remember what it is like to to want something then not have the opportunity to experience it. I just wanted our kids to share what they had in a protected manor. (I married well as wife is daughter of a surgeon who was also chief of staff of a large Dallas hospital) We met showing horses, we both were working for saddlehorse barns, mine nearly everything was show in harness, her’s everything was under saddle we kept passing each other taking horses to/from the warm up ring

Regarding the horses, when younger daughter had her summer camp going here she could use the business’s horses under one condition of providing either reduce cost to worthy family or full scholarship to some one who was worthy which she did each session.

We had the farm set up as an independent corporation which made things a little easier liability wise as her summer camp she was a farm employee operating the summer camp as a farm service therefore was working under its insurance.

Beyond horses, I had my company (I owned the company) purchase one of the first Apple 2E desktop computers for the sons of one employee (well I did add the computer’s cost to a bid which was accepted so it was paid for by another party). That simple task gave his two boys the edge in school, both went onto the Navel Academy the older was second in his class and the younger is now a high ranking officer in the Space Force (he transferred from the Navy to the Air Force)

Simple things

Last week my daughter who takes her dog to library to help people learn to read was stopped by a parent who girl is now 16 to thank my daughter as when his little girl was six she was reading to Sucha . He was happy to see the dog was still enjoying her job…the asked How Old is She …LOL going on 12


I bought my first horse when I was a very stupid teenager after I was diagnosed with epilepsy, but she wound up able to detect my seizures. She was really protective of me, too, and would stand over my unconscious body after a seizure even as horses were running around her. She astounded me a lot and it was one of the hardest decisions I ever made when I put her down. She was so sweet and kind overall; just an amazing horse that I lucked out paying a few hundreds dollars for.


My new barn is riding distance to a park/playground right on the lake. I have been riding my gelding down there at least once a week to expose him to playground activity. The merry-go-round full of kids one day was the only thing he wanted to look at haha. Of course, when the kids see us coming they always get excited…the little ones AND the younger teens! I always invite them over and Pony stands like a statue and pokes his nose out to each one for pets and sniffs pockets/purses for treats. He never leaves anyone out. He really seems to enjoy the attention and change of pace!




that was a heart breaker for sure, the mare stood very still letting the girl touch all of her face


I was hand grazing my mare, as she was on stall rest for an injury. I was at my wits end with grief and stress for a separate issue and I sat on the mounting block to silently cry. I couldn’t hold it in. She very carefully walked up to me and alternated between standing guard over me and putting her head as close to my body as she could, almost in my lap, softly nickering and lipping at me. She didn’t move until I stood up to take her home.

They are the most special and empathetic of creatures.

My goober of a four year old stood stock still and carefully reached out to let a special needs adult gently pet him. I call him baby shark, as he experiences the world with his open mouth - everything goes in. In this case, he completely adjusted to her, brought his energy level to where she needed him to be and let her experience the magic of horses. It was a special moment.


He sounds like a sweetheart!


When my previuosly undiagnosed heart condition suddenly escalated my horse pressed her nose into my chest and just stood with me for overr a minute. After that any time I had to stop and rest while leading her she would stop and wrap her body around me protectively until I could move again. I know she knows everything that goes on with me.


I thought about this thread yesterday. My experience isn’t quite as much of a tear-jerker (you guys have me all welled up over here!), but it was something that made me take notice of my gelding’s “understanding” if you will.

Long story short: I help take care of the barn during the summer (I’m a teacher) and a new horse got away from me yesterday morning and led me on a merry romp around the facility (she’s in heat…lovely). Well into these shenanigans, when the horse and I had already put on quite a show for the other horses who are still in turnout (it was time to come in for breakfast), she wheeled around to dart away from me and I tried to run to cut her off and instead my legs completely failed and I fell down. On my face. While maresy bounded away in victory.

That was the first and only time my gelding, watching this from his pasture gate, vocalized any worry over the loose horse. I heard him when I was on the ground giving a deep and rapid “huhuhuhuh!” and he trotted down the fenceline to be closer to where I was now dragging myself up off the ground.

I am convinced he was worried about his mom.

I finally got everyone in and maresy caught, and while she and the other horses in the barn remained a bit excited and calling and anxious, my boy seemed almost eerily calm (he’s usually game for being a goof…so it was unexpected). I finished my chores and finally went in his stall to take off his fly boots and give him a pat, and he left his hay bag (shock) to give me a thorough checking over. Then he put his nose in my chest and breathed while I hugged his head and told him what a good boy he is.

It’s like he knew I needed him to be calm and comforting. He wasn’t worried about the loose mare in heat who had the whole farm in a tizzy…he was worried about his mom.

Maybe I’m making it all up in my head, but I’ve had him since he was a (malnourished, neglected) yearling and he’s now 14 years old. There’s a bond, and yesterday I felt it.


You’re not making it up. It’s so obvious he knows you’re his person and that you two have a special bond. I love how he “chuckled” at you. Now I’m tearing up because he’s so sweet and not because I’m sad. Thanks for sharing! :kissing_heart:

P.S. A picture and a name would be great if you have one available. We can never see too many pictures of sweet horses. :grin:


my youngest daughter nearly had her right foot amputated after a fall with one of her horses, she broke nearly every bone in her right foot (was not the horse’s fault and horse stood up to get off of her and remained in place not moving)

What I am getting to is one of her other horses who was new to the string and one that had not transferred his letter of acceptance of us yet. I had him one evening and told him if you take care of her I will take care of you. He did his job beyond expectations and the one thing that he did that amazed me was when she wanted him to look at a picnic table that had been build by the WPA back in the 1930s. I was watching and to this day can not recall him moving but he was in front of the table and the next thing there they were standing on top of the table… just like a statue of some general. Daughter kind of went ballistic What Did He Do? I told I think he thought you wanted him up there so there he was.

OK, now How Do We Get Down? (she was setting in the saddle on him)… give him his head let him figure it out. He looked at first contemplating of using the attached bench as step down but just thought (I guess) this is only 42 inches tall so he just stepped off to the ground

That horse would do anything for her except get her into trouble

He passed away a few years ago, I guess it was four or so years but he will not be forgotten