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The Top 5 Non-human Companions for a Horse

By Anne Forsberg


Updated on

Horses are herd animals and just like humans, they crave social interaction.

The best companion for a horse is another horse. However, horses are expensive to keep and can be a lot of work. It also may not be possible for you to keep your horse alongside other horses.

The good news is that there are many other non human companions that can keep a horse company. These animals will interact with the horse and are completely safe to leave around a horse without supervision. Depending on the animal they may also make good travel buddies and will keep your horse company when they have to make a trip.

Here are the best non-human companions in my opinion:

1. Dogs

Dogs are well known as mans best friend but Horses may also have a claim to that title. Dogs are commonplace on ranches, stables, and anywhere else that a horse may be kept. They are ever present in the horses lives and often develop close bonds as a result. Both animals crave social interaction and are great at keeping each other company if there are no humans or friends from their own species around.

Dogs are great to have on a ranch or in stables because they also provide an extra layer of security. Horses and horse tack are very expensive so it is great having a good dog that alerts you when any unwanted visitors enter the property.

Overtime a dog and a horse can become great friends and can have lots of fun together. Depending on the breed a dog may also be suitable for coming on trails alongside the horse and will also make excellent travel companions on the road if the horse has to make a journey.

If thinking about a buying a dog as a companion for a horse, then take the time to research suitable breeds. Also be aware that a  young puppy may spook or nip a horse if unfamiliar with them so it may sue to factor training time into your decision.



2. Donkeys

Donkeys are part of of the Equidae family (sometimes known as the horse family) and are a close relation of the horse . Like horses donkeys can be left in a field and can subside on grass. They are also relatively low maintenance animals.

Donkeys are quite emotional animals and can become very attached to their mates. They even show signs of grief when a companion passes. Like horses, donkeys have their own personality and energy. They will usually bond with a horse but will also prefer the company of another donkey in the field too.

Even though Donkeys are low maintenance they come with their own unique set of needs. For example Donkeys have the capacity to digest roughage more efficiently than horses’ and can easily become obese if left on the same pasture as a horse. Obesity can lead to a whole range of other health conditions that will need to be managed.

If planning on getting a donkey you  should  be aware that Donkeys can live anywhere from 30 to 50 years. So if you’re considering adopting a donkey, you need to be prepared to make a long-term commitment.


3. Cats

A cat is a low maintenance pet that can potentially be  a great companion for any horse. Many people think cats are solitary animals that prefer their own company but this is not always the case. Cats who live in close proximity to horses often form a close bond with the horse. There are lots of stories about how cats and horses have become friends and even like to groom each other.

A cat is also a great way of keeping unwanted pests away from your stable and barn.

Depending on your horses temperament they may even let them perch on their back. Instagram is full of pictures of feline horse riders like this fella here.


4. Goats

A goat or a few goats can make a good companion for a horse. They are very low maintenance and will keep a horse company in the field. However it is worth noting that goats are extremely god escape artists so you may need to bolster you fencing.

Not all horses will have ever seen a goat so it may take some time before your horse gets used to them. However after a while the horse and goat will become friends. If getting a goat a female goat is the safest bet as bucks and castrated males can become aggressive.

Unlike horses goats are not grazers. They are actually browsers which means they prefer shrubs and and trees rather than pastures. However they will usually feed on the same hay that you give your horse.


5. Sheep

Like goats and horses sheep have a herd mentality so it is a good idea to get a couple of sheep if looking for a companion animal. A sheep will not form a bond with a horse like a donkey or a dog can but will keep a horse company in the field as they graze side by side.


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About Anne Forsberg

Anne has been riding since she was only 5 years old and she's been obsessed with horses ever since. An avid horsewoman now, she loves horses and this sport more than anything else, sharing stories and info that she hopes will be helpful and meaningful to anyone who's on their path to become a better horse owner, a better rider and why not, a better person. Learn more about Seriously Equestrian's Editorial Process.