In the Saddle with Anita Marsh: Horses can sense our mood

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If you've not seen the news recently there has been a new study conducted which confirms that horses can tell what mood you are in and can also sense our emotions.

This is nothing new to horse owners, of course, ask anyone that owns a horse or works with them and they will all tell you that this is true, but what is brilliant about these findings is that finally this has been proven scientifically, and for me it means I don't look crazy when I tell my non-horsey friends that my mare really does understands how I am feeling.

Scientists from the University of Sussex, showed that domestic horses "responded negatively" to angry expressions through an experiment using photographs of male human faces, concluding that domestication may have enabled horses to adapt to and interpret human behaviour.

The team carried out their tests at riding stables by showing 28 horses large photographs a range of faces showing different human emotions. The result showed that when they looked at the angry faces it was with their left eye, and we know that mammal brains are wired so that anything from the left eye is processed by the right side of the brain.The right part of the brain is where negative information is processed.

In addition to this they fitted the horses with heart monitors, which also revealed that the angry faces made their heart rates to increase significantly. It's just really exciting to finally have scientists agree with horse owners.

I know if I'm upset and I cry around April she visibly gets distressed also. I notice this in how she circles the stable, paws the ground and snorts-she won't come near me. It upsets her.

In fact I can't go out to her in a bad mood as she gets quite agitated herself and I need her calm and safe to ride. Finally we are believed! It's fantastic to hear we were right along!