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Do Horses Get Jealous?

In recent years, the area of animal emotions has been studied more closely and the idea that horses, like humans, can experience emotions such as jealousy has been explored. While it is difficult to definitively answer this question, there is some evidence to suggest that horses may indeed experience jealousy.

What is Jealousy?

Before exploring the possibility of horses being capable of experiencing jealousy, it is important to first define what jealousy actually is. Jealousy is an emotion that is experienced when an individual perceives a threat or a lack of resources, attention, or status. It is often associated with feelings of insecurity, fear, and anger.

Signs of Jealousy in Horses

Horses demonstrate a variety of behaviors that may indicate a feeling of jealousy. Some of the common behaviors that are seen when a horse is jealous include:

• Nickering, snorting, or whinnying when another horse is being petted or groomed

• Becoming agitated or aggressive when another horse is getting attention

• Refusing to move away from another horse when asked

• Manipulating the situation to get attention

• Becoming overly possessive of their owner or another horse

Causative Factors

There are a few different factors that can contribute to a horse’s feeling of jealousy. The most common of these are a lack of attention, competing for resources, and a perceived threat.

• Lack of Attention: Horses are social animals and, like humans, they need attention and affection. If a horse is not getting enough attention, they may feel jealous when their owners spend more time with other horses or animals.

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• Competing for Resources: Horses are competitive animals and may become jealous if they feel they are not getting enough resources. This can range from food to attention or even space.

• Perceived Threat: Horses may become jealous if they feel another horse is a threat to their status in the herd. This could be due to a new horse joining the herd, a horse being promoted over them, or even a horse being given more privileges than them.

The Role of Evolution

It is believed that jealousy is an evolutionary trait that developed in order to help animals better compete for resources and attention. This could explain why horses may experience feelings of jealousy when they feel threatened or lack resources.

How to Manage Jealousy in Horses

The key to managing jealousy in horses is to give each horse sufficient attention and resources. This can be achieved by providing enough food and water for all horses, spending time with them individually, and avoiding favoritism. Additionally, it is important to make sure that any new horses joining the herd are properly introduced and integrated into the group.


In conclusion, while it is difficult to definitively say whether or not horses experience jealousy, the evidence suggests that they may indeed experience this emotion. Horses may become jealous if they feel they are not receiving enough attention, resources, or status. It is important to manage jealousy in horses by providing them with adequate attention and resources and avoiding favoritism.