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How Can You Tell if a Horse Is Comfortable and Happy?

Last updated: December 27, 2022

By: Miles HenryFact Checked

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I set out to begin my morning routine; I was anxious to check on my new horse, Jimmy, to ensure he was happy and comfortable in his home. But as I approached his stall, I was concerned.

The horse was not acting right, he was a lively and playful horse yesterday, but this morning he seemed listless and withdrawn. It made me wonder if something was bothering him, and I was determined to find out.

I began assessing my horse; I checked his coat, legs, eyes, and overall demeanor, looking for any signs of discomfort or distress. Through careful observation and attention to their behavior, we can gain insight into a horse’s emotional state and ensure that they are feeling their best.

As horse owners, we need to keep our equine companions comfortable and happy if we want them to stay healthy and perform their best. In this article, I go over some of the key signs to look for when assessing the comfort and happiness of your horse. edited scaled

7 Signs that your horse is comfortable and happy.

Overall, a comfortable and happy horse will show a combination of physical and behavioral signs. It is important to regularly observe your horse and pay attention to its body language so that you can easily see when it’s not feeling good.

There are several signs that can indicate if a horse is comfortable and happy. These signs include:

  1. The horse is relaxed, and its body is loose and limber.
  2. The horse’s ears are pointed forward, and its eyes are bright and alert.
  3. The horse is breathing evenly, and its gait is smooth and relaxed.
  4. The horse is interested in its surroundings and is curious about new things.
  5. The horse is free from any signs of pain or discomfort, such as lameness or excessive sweating.
  6. The horse is well-groomed, and its coat is shiny and healthy.
  7. The horse is well-fed and has access to clean water and adequate shelter.

Below is a YouTube video of one of our horses playing on a walker.

YouTube video

One of the first things to look for when trying to determine if your horse is comfortable and happy is its physical appearance. A healthy horse will have a glossy coat, bright eyes, and a relaxed posture. They should also be a healthy weight and have no visible signs of discomfort or injury.

A happy horse will be curious and engaged with its surroundings and may even exhibit playful behavior. They should be willing to approach and interact with you and may even vocalize or nuzzle you in a friendly manner. 1 edited scaled
“Jimmy” doesn’t look happy

7 Signs your horse is uncomfortable or unhappy.

In contrast, a horse that is uncomfortable or unhappy may exhibit a range of behaviors, such as shaking its head, swishing its tail, or pinning its ears back. They may also become withdrawn and refuse to interact with you or their environment.

Here are some signs that your horse may be uncomfortable or unhappy:

  1. The horse is tense, and its body is stiff or rigid.
  2. The horse’s ears are pinned back or moving constantly.
  3. The horse is breathing heavily or showing other signs of distress, such as sweating or trembling.
  4. The horse is avoiding eye contact or seems uninterested in its surroundings.
  5. The horse is displaying signs of pain or discomfort, such as lameness or excessive head shaking.
  6. The horse is poorly groomed, with a dull coat and unkempt hooves.
  7. The horse is not eating well or is losing weight.

If you notice any of these signs, it is important to address the issue and provide your horse with the care and attention it needs to feel comfortable and happy. This may include changing your tack, providing additional support, such as a change in diet, or more frequent exercise.

Another important factor to consider is your horse’s overall health and well-being. Regular veterinarian visits can help identify potential health issues and ensure that your horse receives the necessary care.

I had our vet look at Jimmy, and he told me it’s likely a change of environment that’s causing him to act sullen. He advised me to start him on a daily dewormer, ensure he eats a healthy diet, and have patience.

Providing your horse with a nutritious diet and regular exercise are the primary factors that contribute to their overall happiness and comfort.

Picture of a happy young horse jumping in the air.

What makes horses happy?

I recently bought an underweight gray filly, her coat was dull, and she moped around. After a week or two in her new home, she acts like an excited puppy. She runs around the pasture and kicks up her heels.

The primary reason for her change of attitude is her diet; I began feeding her plenty of alfalfa along with grain in the mornings and afternoons. In addition, she is ridden six days a week. This has really perked her up.

There are several factors that can contribute to a horse’s happiness, including:

  1. Adequate food, water, and shelter: Horses require a balanced diet and access to clean water and shelter in order to be happy and healthy.
  2. Regular exercise and mental stimulation: Horses are intelligent and active animals who need regular opportunities to move and engage their minds to be happy.
  3. Positive social interactions: Horses are social animals and need regular opportunities to interact with other horses to be happy.
  4. Good health and regular care: Horses require regular grooming, hoof care, and medical attention in order to be happy and healthy.
  5. A comfortable and safe environment: Horses need to feel safe and secure in their environment in order to be happy.

Overall, a happy horse is one that has its basic needs met and is able to live a comfortable and fulfilling life.

Picture of a horse showing love.

How do horses show their love?

As I watched the two horses nuzzling each other in the field, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of awe at the strength of their bond. Horses are often thought of as working animals, but they are also capable of great love and affection.

But how do horses show their love? Horses show their love in many ways, some of which are similar to how humans express love. Here are some things horses do to show their love:

  1. Nuzzling and grooming: Horses often nuzzle and groom each other to show affection and strengthen their bonds.
  2. Playfulness and curiosity: Horses that are happy and comfortable around each other will often play and explore their surroundings together, which can be a sign of love and trust.
  3. Protectiveness and loyalty: Horses that are bonded to each other may show protective and loyal behavior, such as standing guard or defending each other from perceived threats.
  4. Calming behavior: Horses may also show love by being calm and gentle around each other and by being responsive to each other’s emotional needs.

Overall, horses express their love in many ways, and their specific behaviors may vary depending on their individual personalities and relationships with other horses. edited


By staying attuned to your horse’s behavior and physical condition, you can help ensure that they are happy and comfortable in their environment. With the right care and attention, your horse can thrive and enjoy a long, healthy, and fulfilling life.


Do horses roll when they are happy?

Yes! Horses do roll when they are happy. It’s a way for them to enjoy themselves and get a good stretch. It’s usually one of the behaviors they engage in when they’re feeling safe and comfortable.

Can horses sense a good person?

No scientific evidence supports the idea that horses can sense whether someone is good or bad. However, horses are very intuitive animals and are often able to read people’s emotions and intentions. So it’s possible that they can sense when someone is kind and caring towards them and that they feel comfortable around those people.