Can horses smell fear?

Discussion in 'Horse Training' started by MuckMuck, Aug 10, 2010.

  1. MuckMuck

    MuckMuck Senior Member+

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2008
    Messages:
    2,767
    Likes Received:
    7,804
    This is an old saying in the horse world and I would like to hear your thoughts on the idea and how it might pertain to training a horse.

    Can horses smell your lack of confidence and your fear?
     






  2. Tduke

    Tduke Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    Messages:
    460
    Likes Received:
    58
    ive always heard they can sense it, like when your sense they know somethings wrong.
     
  3. Lacys Mom

    Lacys Mom Senior Member+

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2005
    Messages:
    4,127
    Likes Received:
    409
    I'm not sure if they can "smell" it per se, but I am convinced they can definitely sense both fear and lack of confidence.
     
  4. Nakoda

    Nakoda Senior Member+

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2010
    Messages:
    3,223
    Likes Received:
    387
    I think they "Feel" your fear, or see it more than smell it. Horses communicate through body language, so if your rigid or tense then they can sense that. IDK if fear has a smell;) Also if you are riding they can feel how tense you are compared to a more confident rider.
     
  5. roro

    roro Senior Member+

    Joined:
    May 22, 2010
    Messages:
    1,102
    Likes Received:
    65
    I'd have to agree with this. Maybe if you had a nervous sweat going on they could smell it. For the most part, I think they feel it or see it rather than smell it.
     
  6. BroncEars

    BroncEars Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2010
    Messages:
    1,032
    Likes Received:
    49
    yeah, every horse knows:) -not smells, but knows
    ive actually worked with a couple of non-confident horse owners+horses.

    the horses would do perfect for me, but then their timid owners would come and the horse would freak. then id sternly say their name, and they improved.

    its all about confidence and letting the horse know you dont take any bull from them, and wont ever give up untill they do what you want them to.
     
  7. angie j

    angie j Senior Member+

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2008
    Messages:
    11,524
    Likes Received:
    16,542
    My darling daughter, 8, tries unsuccessfully to lie to me. I always tell her, "I can tell by the look on your face." I try to explain 'how' this is done but the subtilties of each person are complex. Our horse know us. The read us with accuracy. I know "I" can often tell when a person is 'scared' and I expect the horse is very good at it. Just like they know within 5 seconds if they have a skilled rider on their backs or someone they can 'play with' ;)

    I know when one lacks confidence we are inconsistent. I think this would muddy up our training some.
     
  8. Theorist

    Theorist Senior Member+

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2008
    Messages:
    2,365
    Likes Received:
    1,993
    Fear, confidence, lack of confidence, anger, joy.. they are very in tune to our "emotions/feelings." That shows up in how they respond to different individuals in like situations.
     
  9. Ambrose

    Ambrose Senior Member+

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2009
    Messages:
    4,355
    Likes Received:
    2,736
    Horses are more clued-in to body language than we can ever be, because they are prey animals and we are not. A horse who's "socially inept," in a sense, will quickly get eaten because it won't be able to pick up on the subtle cues from herd members that precede a spook/flight. They've been weeded out of the gene pool to produce a creature that has a better grasp on body language and nonverbal communication than a human, even the most experienced, could ever have.

    I don't have data to back this up, but it also seems plausible to me that they can physically smell the change in our sweat and secretions when our bodies become tense and fearful, or aggressive.
     
  10. Zimalia

    Zimalia Senior Member+

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2010
    Messages:
    6,406
    Likes Received:
    6,522
    If you're timid and afraid around your horse, they pick up on that. Then they are sure there's something to be afraid of, so they are.

    People think if they are going to introduce something new, they have to ease it up to the horse, sneak it to them. Big wrong. If you're afraid, they're sure it's something to be afraid of.
     






Share This Page